In this book I have concentrated on drawing attention to various conceptions of accountability that might be brought to bear in judging the practice of social research. Much of the book is organized around making explicit the assumptions that influence what counts as "proper" research in society, including assumptions about how social inquirers might be held accountable. My focus is on reviewing discourses around the practice of "professional" inquiry, with a view to reconsidering the way in which people create expectations for accountable social inquiry. My focus hereon is related to my concern that the manner in which judgments about researchers' accountability are made, is not without social consequences for our way of living in society. I have approached the issues by beginning with a discussion of tenets of the position called "positivism" (so named by certain proponents), and by considering the view on accountability that is implied by adherence to these tenets. Briefly expressed, positivist argumentation suggests that researchers are required to "do science" in a manner that warrants their being considered, indeed, scientists. I use my discussion of accountability as seen within positivist argumentation to explicate ways in which alternative positions have arisen as ways of treating accountability issues. Through my way of comparing the various positions, I hope to provide some indication of the complexity ofethical and accountability issues in social inquiry.
1: Introduction. 2: The Practice of Social Science: Implications for Researcher Accountability. 2.1. Introduction. 2.2. Positivism as a Way of Defining the Practice of Science. 2.3. Critical Rationalism as a Way of Defining the Practice of Science. 2.4. Scientific Realism as a Way of Defining the Practice of Science. 2.5. Interpretivism as a Way of Defining the Practice of Science. 2.6. Critical Theory as a Way of Defining the Practice of Science. 2.7. Anti-foundationalist Feminism as a Way of Defining the Practice of Science. 2.8. Conclusion. 3: A Reconsideration of Constructivism: Discursive Accountability Explored. 3.1. Introduction. 3.2. Discursively-oriented Constructivism as a Way of Defining the Practice of Science. 3.3. A Review of the Debates. 3.4. Conclusion. 4: Exploring Experimentation. 4.1. Introduction. 4.2. The Benefits of Recategorization ( Dovidio et al., 1997 ). 4.3. Exploring Alternative Assessments of the Example. 4.4. Conclusion. 5: Exploring Survey Research. 5.1. Introduction. 5.2. The Evaluation of Abet at Unisa ( Romm et al., 1998 ). 5.3. Exploring Alternative Assessments of the Example. 5.4. Conclusion. 6: Exploring the Ethnographic Study of Lives. 6.1. Introduction. 6.2. Inheritance Practice and Law in Swaziland ( Aphane et al., 1993 ). 6.3. Exploring Alternative Assessments of the Example. 6.4. Conclusion. 7: Exploring Action Research. 7.1. Introduction. 7.2. Action Research Within the Management of Public Sector Services ( Weil, 1998 ). 7.3. Exploring Alternative Assessments of the Example. 7.4. Conclusion. 8: Conclusion: Accounting for Different Conceptions of Accountability in Social Research. 8.1. Introduction. 8.2. Social Research as Doing Science. 8.3. Accounting for Experimentation. 8.4. Accounting for Survey Research. 8.5. Accounting for Ethnographic Research. 8.6. Accounting for Action Research. 8.7. Defending Research Processes and Reporting on Their Products. 8.8. Addressing Others' Arguments. List of Tables: Table 1: the Development of Positions in Response to Positivism. Table 2: Comparing Visions of Acceptable Research Practice. List of Figures: Figure 1: Layout of Chapters and Summary of Their Contents. Figure 2: a Locating of Arguments on Accountability. Figure 3: Accounting for Social Research in Terms of Process and Product. Figure 4: Dovidio et al.'s Experiment. Figure 5: Romm et al.'s Evaluation. Figure 6: Aphane et al.'s Ethnographic Study. Figure 7: Weil's Critically Reflexive Action Research (Crar) Project.
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