Workshop for Doctoral Scholars
December 4-7, 2007
Theme: Critical Perspectives on Research Methodology
methodology, a critical component of training for any research programme,
seldom receives the attention it deserves in most academic institutions in
India. Methodologies are often conflated with methods and techniques of
data analyses, with limited understanding of the logic underlying the
various techniques and methods. Even among techniques, use of quantitative
data analyses is seen to be more scientific, more valid than other
methods. Developments in the philosophy of social science research
increasingly stress the validity of multiple truth claims with an emphasis
on the location of the researcher and the importance of interpretive,
ethnographic methods. Further, social sciences also increasingly draw from
developments in natural sciences and technology studies to enhance its
explanatory domain. This has also strengthened the scope for
trans-disciplinary dialogue and research drawing upon perspectives from
varied disciplines. These developments are yet to find their way into
coursework for researchers in many institutions.
methods is guided by the nature of the research questions posed.
Similarly, research questions posed arise from a set of perspectives that
one is exposed to. For instance, a student wanting to measure the impact
of a policy change will be guided by a different set of theoretical
perspectives as compared to say, a student who wants to study policy
outcomes as contingent upon processes of implementation. The methods
adopted by each student too will vary accordingly, but the two studies
complement and enrich our understanding of the effectiveness of policy
change. However, in many academic institutions in India, there is little
scope for the two streams of research to learn from each other, and
importantly understand the validity of the approaches that each study
adopts. It is also important to develop a critical awareness of the
limitations of the respective approaches, especially of the assumptions
made to validate.
will address some of these issues and serve as a forum for students to
interact and exchange notes on their ongoing work. It seeks to expose
research scholars to a) an understanding of categories like method,
methodology and theoretical perspectives and the differences b) critical
perspectives on assumptions underlying dominant strands of research b) the
idea of validity of method in positivist and interpretivist frameworks and
d) recent developments in the philosophy of social science research.
will be held in MIDS and will be tentatively structured as follows. The
proposals will be classified into different themes and the morning
sessions will have resource persons making presentations on relevant
research issues. Students will make their presentations in the afternoon,
which will be discussed by resource persons as well as by other research
scholars. The final day will have a set of presentations by distinguished
scholars drawn from different disciplines so as to provide the scholars
with inter-disciplinary perspectives on their research areas.
Methodology Workshop for Doctoral Scholars
MIDS will hold
a workshop for Ph. D research scholars from various ICSSR institutions and
from other institutions in Tamil Nadu during 4-7, December 2007. The theme
for this year’s workshop is Critical Perspectives on Research
Methodology. The workshop will be held at MIDS, Chennai. A
concept note on the theme is enclosed.
seeks to bring research scholars working in different social sciences to
expose them to a) the various conceptual and methodological issues
involved in using specific research frameworks, b) research procedures
adopted by other disciplinary streams and c) the possibility of using more
reflexive methods in their research work. We request you to nominate
students who would benefit from participation in such a workshop.
Students should have completed at least one year of doctoral work.
Applicants can be from any social science discipline and we encourage
students using multi-disciplinary perspectives to apply. Scholars who are
in their early stages of their Ph.D on any of the social science
disciplines other than commerce are requested to apply. Around 20 to 25
students will be selected.
requested to send a 1-2 page write-up on their doctoral work highlighting
a) the objectives of their study and the research questions, b)
justification for the objectives and c) proposed means of addressing the
research questions. The covering letter from the applicant should contain
the following a) Name of the Applicant b)
Institution/Department/University of Affiliation c) Title of the Ph.D
Dissertation d) Name of the Supervisor e) Date of Registration or date of
joining f) An Endorsement by the Supervisor and g) Contact email address
and postal address. Proposals are welcome in Tamil or English.
should state clearly on the envelope “Research Scholars Workshop”.
Applications can be sent by ordinary mail to the following address
Assistant Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies,
79, II Main, Gandhinagar, Adayar, Chennai- 600020.
or by email to