On the wintry ninth December morning, Prof. Biswajit Das of the Centre for Culture Media and Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia kicked off the ten days ICSSR Research Methodology Workshop on Communication Studies and Social Sciences by thanking the Vice Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, Prof. Talat Ahmad, who had graced the center to inaugurate the workshop. Prof. Das in his introductory remarks highlighted the interdisciplinary nature of study at the center and emphasized the need to be well versed in both the quantitative and qualitative methodologies.
The Vice Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia Prof. Talat Ahmad, extending a warm welcome to participants from both, Delhi and other cities, recounted in his inaugural address that during his PhD days there were no specific training in research methodologies for scholars. Thus he called upon the participants to make the best use of the workshop and the facilities. He also welcomed them to the University and encouraged them to make maximum use of the available resources.
Dr Manoj Kumar, the coordinator of the workshop ended the session with a vote of thanks.
Session I: Prof. Yogendra Singh
The Idea and Scope of Research
Prof Singh began his lecture with an explanation about how research focuses on the responses to the different propositions. He stated that a theory is built on a set of propositions.
He then tried to locate survey research in the entire framework of research methodologies and explained its specific functions. He pointed out that survey findings blended with facts may yield many unintended but insightful information apart from the answers to the research questions.
Prof Singh outlined the details of how to build theories using propositions and explained the process of finalizing theories by using inductive and deductive paths of research. He also looked into the idea of formal research and how it is a form of logical inquiry.
Sharing anecdotes from his field research, Prof Singh argued the need for a macro-level analysis before undertaking any study. He substantiated this argument with his experience of field research in which he engaged with the population of an Indian town that was to undergo urban planning.
Session II: Prof P K Bose
Quantitative Imagination in Social Sciences
In this session, Prof Bose explained the philosophy behind the idea of ‘quantity’ in social sciences research. Invoking Michel Foucault’s work on statistics, he briefly traced the trajectory of how people, in a sociological sense, have been now transformed into the mere idea of population. He extended this idea to the India context as well.
His presentation was, as Prof. Das later commented, encyclopedic that marked the shifts in the tradition of quantitative analysis. Prof Bose spoke about the shift of ‘Social Physics’ advocated by Adolph Quetelet (1796-1874) to ‘Sociology’ innovated by August Comte. He presented a deep review of historical shifts in sociology and its methods of inquiry. Quoting at length the works of Thomas Kuhn, Foucault and Immanuel Kant, he also explained the ‘Induction’ and ‘Deduction’ approaches of social sciences research.
In the last session, Prof Bose described the idea of statistics and its various uses under different circumstances in research. He further elucidated on the types of scales namely ratio, ordinal and nominal and the different statistical tools that can be used for all of them.