Grounded Theory; International Relations; Political Science; applicability
300 Social sciences 320 Political science 327 International relations
Over the past fifty years, Glaser and Strauss's grounded theory method has become an important component of social science methodology. This paper seeks to determine the uses of grounded theory methodology for the field of political science. After giving an overview of the grounded theory method, the criticisms Glaser and Strauss levelled at the field of sociology are examined and their relevance for political science are discussed. The findings show that grounded theory is able to resolve some of the problems of political science methods, such as its over-reliance on theory testing and deductive approaches to theory generation. However, when considering how one could apply grounded theory methodology to a ‘typical’ political science question on regime change, it becomes clear that the theory’s usage is very limited in some sub-fields of the discipline such as international relations. In the field of political science, therefore, grounded theory methodology is clearly not as widely applicable and useful as Glaser and Strauss proclaim.
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