Weber: Methodology of the Social Sciences
Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I even say who wrote them. If you have more recent summaries to add to this collection, send them my way I guess. Sorry for the ads; they cover the costs of keeping this online.
Weber. Methodology of the Social Sciences (ch 1, 2).
- We've all got a bias.
- It is damaging when professors use the perceived authority of their positions, or the fact that youth are required to go to school and take certain classes in order to succeed in certain professions, as occasion to preach their values and evaluations of the world around them. Professors should teach the debates and explain the facts underlying both sides, and teach students how to approach the debates, understand them, and take a side.
- Further, we should seek to include those with diverse views into academia. It is by giving voice to every side that we find truth in the end. If we all coalesce around one idea--rational choice, for example--then we will be unable to fully explain some things. Example: rational choice may help explain how a state can motivate its soldiers to fight in its army, but it cannot explain why many of them develop a dedication to their state such that they willingly die for it.