Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Second Seminar

The aim of the second seminar was to discuss the difference between Humanities (Hum) and Social Science (Sam) when it comes to researching. History is a subject taught at Humanities while the other subjects (Political Science, Human Geography and Sociology) are taught at Social Sciences. At Hum., research is more inductive, starting from the bottom, defining the phenomena and possibly formulating a theory for the specific research case. In doing so, emphasis is mostly put on uniqueness. At Sam., research is more deductive, starting from a theory, using a number of existing definitions and applying that to the research object. That makes that emphasis is put more on generalisation.
We also discussed the use of comparative studies and studies at the borderline between two disciplines. We had read two books, one where sociologists (Mats Franzén & Eva Sandstedt) try to write a historical overview of the Swedish debate about neighbourliness in the 50's, 60's and 70's and one where a political scientist (Natasha Vall) tries to compare two cities: Malmö and Newcastle. Comparatuive studies are valuable but difficult, which probabaly is why there are so few PhD Student who 'dare' to write a comparative dissertation.
Do I dare?

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