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This book provides researchers and students with a discussion of methodological approaches for studying non-state actors in international security.
Scholars of political science all face the same challenge: not only do they have to identify a suitable method for analysing a research question, but they also have to apply it to a particular case or a number of selected cases. While students are generally taught different qualitative and quantitative methods and learn about how to choose a method for their own research, their textbooks and studies hardly ever prepare them for the challenges they confront when actually using them. The proposed volume fills this gap by addressing the following questions:
Based on which criteria can we select a suitable method for a particular research question?
How can we translate a method (or a combination of methods) into a research design?
How can we practically deal with problems that arise during the research process, i.e. in the application of a method to a particular case?
What are the implications of using a particular method for the interpretive or explanatory power of the analysis? What sort of knowledge is gained and what kind of insights are systematically neglected by the use of a certain method?
The book is innovative because it includes not only a presentation of selected methods and methodologies, but also engages in a discussion of their practical application as well as their merits and limitations compared to other approaches. In order to provide some empirical overlap and to allow for a comparison of methodological approaches, the contributions focus on a common field of research, namely non-state actors in international security. Non-state actors such as rebel groups, warlords, militias, terrorists, criminal groups, private military and security companies (PMSCs), local self-defence forces, business firms or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are not only highly relevant research foci in their own right as they increasingly preoccupy practitioners as well as scholars of political science but they are also particularly challenging objects (and subjects) of knowledge production. Precisely because non-state actors in international security pose a number of serious methodological problems, we stand to learn a lot for a broad range of research designs in International Relations from cracking this tough nut .
This book will be of much interest to students of private military and security companies, research methods, security studies and IR in general.
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Format: Hardcover | 270 Pages
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