Methodologies in Development Studies: An Overview

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The interdisciplinary nature of the field of Development Studies (DS) makes it hard to point towards a ‘signature’ methodology. Different development challenges bring different ideas about what the problem is (ontology) and how researchers can know about it (epistemology), as well as different research methods. The rationale for choosing a method can be ideological or pragmatic. In the field of DS, this often entails knowing what methods research commissioners see as credible and what types of evidence they find persuasive. The weight placed on the data generated by certain methods and the lack of critical attention to how it was actually produced shows the importance of a focus on methodology. In looking at, or for, the defining methodologies of DS, this chapter focuses on methodology in a relatively narrow sense: what types of sample and what combinations of methods are typically used by researchers within DS to construct credible arguments around questions of policy or practice. It describes which methodologies constitute the bulk of DS research through analysis of projects and outputs. Finally, it asks what people who generate and use DS research could do to increase its rigour and relevance (Gujit and Roche, 2014; see also Oswald, Leach and Gaventa, this volume) and how the political economy of development research funding might militate against this.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBuilding Development Studies for the New Millennium
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-04052-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-04051-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Publication series

NameEADI Global Development Series
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan

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