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Saturday, November 05, 2005

Balancing Theory and Methods with Reality?

Alan Wolfe contributes a provocative review essay in the Nov. 4 Chronicle of Higher Education (online subscription or available via Lexis Nexis).

Wolfe details the revolt in political science from scholars who view the major journals as increasingly irrelevant to understanding politics, and instead dominated by mathematically based scholarship that through hypothesis testing and model building tries to fit reality and events into a single over-arching explanatory concept. What is lost is the role of contingency, complexity and context in human affairs, and the ability to say things about contemporary society. Worth reading with many parallels to trends in communication research and other disciplines.

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