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Philosophies of Social Science Research

This module introduces students to some of the standard methodological and theoretical problems posed by social inquiry. Many of the issues to be discussed relate to one key question: are the methods of the social sciences essentially the same or essentially different from those of the natural sciences?

The topics to be addressed include:

  • Introduction to social research
  • Explanation and understanding in social science
  • Functionalism and structuralism
  • Rational choice theory, collective action and game theory in the social sciences
  • Evolutionary explanation in the social sciences
  • Questions in the philosophy of knowledge relating to science, realism, language and materialism
  • Objectivity in the social sciences
  • Understanding democracy and representation in social and politcial science
  • Hermeneutic understanding
  • Bad science, weird science, and the limits of science
  • Explaining denial
  • Understanding and expaining suicide missions

Please note the information on this page will be updated regularly as we approach the start of the Autumn term and is subject to change.

If you have any further questions please contact:



Key Information

First session

Wednesday 14th October 2015


Wednesdays 2-3pm

H0.60 Humanities Building


3-4pm H0.60


4-5pm H0.60


Dr. Ed Page

Dr. Milena Kremakova

Core Training Timetable

Registration for this module was available here in Summer 2015. Registration is now closed.