Methodology in European Union studies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

The term ‘methodology’ is often misused in the social sciences. There are two typical sources of confusion and conflation. The first is the equation of methodology with ‘methods’. While the latter may follow from the former, they are not the same thing. Methodology properly understood involves, as Giovanni Sartori puts it, ‘a concern with the logics, structure and procedure of scientific enquiry’ (Sartori, 1970: 1033). Meanwhile methods are best thought of as ‘techniques for gathering and analysing bits of data’ (Jackson, 2011: 25). As Patrick Jackson notes, questions about method choice occur in a context of prior agreement about ‘the definition of knowledge and the overall goal of empirical research’ (2011: 25; see also Moses and Knutsen, 2012; Schwartz-Shea and Yanow, 2002). This prior agreement is obviously settled in the first instance at the metatheoretical level — in the domains of ontology and epistemology, but there is a further metatheoretical link between epistemology and method, and that link is methodology (Hay, 2002: 63). Hay defines ontology as ‘what there is to know’, epistemology as ‘what can we hope to know about [what there is to know]?’ and methodology as ‘how can we go about acquiring that knowledge?’ (Hay, 2002: 63) The point is that methodology is a matter of philosophy of (social) science.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Methods in European Union Studies
EditorsKennet Lynggaard, Ian Manners, Karl Löfgren
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781137316967
ISBN (Print)9780230363052
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in European Union Politics
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISSN (Print)2662-5873
ISSN (Electronic)2662-5881

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • European Union-research-methodology
  • European Union countries-politics and government-research-methodology
  • political science
  • rational choice
  • European integration
  • regional integration
  • American Political Science Review


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