6.1: Methods and methodologies

The readings and lecture in this section look at methods (particular ways of investigating and engaging with problems) and methodologies - ways of thinking about methods and why we use them.

Essential reading

Stirling, A., Leach, M., Mehta, L., Scoones, I., Smith, A., Stagl, S. and Thompson, J. (2007) Empowering Designs: towards more progressive appraisal of sustainability, STEPS Working Paper 3 (OA)

Questions to guide reading
  1. What do the authors mean by “social appraisal”?
  2. How is this different from a social object of appraisal?
  3. What two conditions do the authors argue condition processes of social appraisal?
  4. The authors distinguish between analytic and normative aspects of their argument. Can you identify these different aspects of their argument within the paper? How does they translate into their discussion of appraisal designs?
  5. How do the component parts of the authors’ arguments link back to the concepts and perspectives you have engaged with on this course?
  6. How are these conceptual considerations addressed in the authors’ discussion of social appraisal designs?

Lecture: Prof Andy Stirling, Methods and methodologies

Additional reading

Margaret Wetherell, Stephanie Taylor and Simeon J. Yates, Discourse as Data: A Guide for Analysis, Sage, London

Stirling, A. and Mayer, S. (2000) A novel approach to the appraisal of technological risk: a multicriteria mapping study of a genetically modified crop, Environment and Planning C, 19(4): 529-555


In the next activity, we look at how different methods can help us to identify and analyse narratives and framings.

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Activity 1: Narratives and framings

Last modified: Thursday, 2 February 2017, 2:59 PM