Redesigning Social Inquiry: Fuzzy Sets and Beyond

Paperback | October 1, 2008

byCharles C. Ragin

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For over twenty years Charles C. Ragin has been at the forefront of the development of innovative methods for social scientists. In Redesigning Social Inquiry, he continues his campaign to revitalize the field, challenging major aspects of the conventional template for social science research while offering a clear alternative.
            Redesigning Social Inquiry provides a substantive critique of the standard approach to social research—namely, assessing the relative importance of causal variables drawn from competing theories. Instead, Ragin proposes the use of set-theoretic methods to find a middle path between quantitative and qualitative research. Through a series of contrasts between fuzzy-set analysis and conventional quantitative research, Ragin demonstrates the capacity for set-theoretic methods to strengthen connections between qualitative researchers’ deep knowledge of their cases and quantitative researchers’ elaboration of cross-case patterns. Packed with useful examples, Redesigning Social Inquiry will be indispensable to experienced professionals and to budding scholars about to embark on their first project.

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For over twenty years Charles C. Ragin has been at the forefront of the development of innovative methods for social scientists. In Redesigning Social Inquiry, he continues his campaign to revitalize the field, challenging major aspects of the conventional template for social science research while offering a clear alternative.        ...

Charles Ragin is professor of sociology and political science at the University of Arizona. He is the author of Fuzzy-Set Social Science and The Comparative Method: Moving Beyond Qualitative and Quantitative Strategies.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.7 inPublished:October 1, 2008Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226702758

ISBN - 13:9780226702759

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
 
Part I. Set-Theoretic versus Correlational Connections
 
            Chapter 1.        Set Relations in Social Research: Basic Concepts
            Chapter 2.        Fuzzy Sets and Fuzzy-Set Relations
            Chapter 3.        Evaluating Set Relations: Consistency and Coverage
 
Part II. Calibration versus Measurement
 
            Chapter 4.        Why Calibrate?
            Chapter 5.        Calibrating Fuzzy Sets
 
Part III. Configurations of Conditions versus “Independent” Variables
 
            Chapter 6.        Configurational Thinking
            Chapter 7.        Configurational Analysis Using Fuzzy Sets
                                    and Truth Tables
 
Part IV. Analysis of Causal Complexity versus Analysis of Net Effects
 
            Chapter 8.        Limited Diversity and Counterfactual Cases
                                    coauthored with John Sonnett
            Chapter 9.        Easy versus Difficult Counterfactuals
            Chapter 10.      The Limitations of Net Effects Thinking
            Chapter 11.      Net Effects versus Configurations: An Empirical
                                    Demonstration
                                    coauthored with Peer Fiss
 
            References
            Index

Editorial Reviews

"Ragin's work takes basic working notions about sociological research and forces readers to challenge fallacies and limitations of their own academic training. Any sociological methods professor who can smugluy occupy one of the easy chairs of methodological dogma after reading Redesigning Social Inquiry probably should visit the benefits office . . . to discuss an expedited retirement plan."