Bryman chapter 1: Social Research Strategies

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Published on: 01/02/2011

Some notes:


  1. A theory is an explanation for observed regularities (p. 6).
  2. Bryman shows that there is two levels of theory: grand and middle range.
  3. Grand: abstract and general, compared to (p. 6)
  4. middle: operate in a limited domain (p. 7), like racial prejudice, juvenile delinquency.
  5. There is more or less a third level: empirical generalizations (p.12),
  6. which Bryman relates to inductive (and thus qualitative, p. 22) strategies:
  7. ‘very often what one ends up (…) [is]  little more then empirical generalizations’ (p. 12),
  8. and not middle range theories. Grounded theory is an exception.
  9. –> For me is interesting to see on which levels the theoretical perspectives are wrt my article.
  10. Sometimes authors use the term ‘theorie’ as the literature about a certain topic,
  11. it acts as a proxy (benadering van?) for theory:
  12. ‘in many instances theory is latent or implicit in literature’ (p. 8 )


  1. Hermeneutics: theory and method of the interpretation of human action (p. 15).
  2. Phenomenology: how do humans make sense of the world around them (p. 15).
  3. ?? I am not sure what the relation is between the two, but
  4. for me it is helpful to think as hermeneutics as more etic compared to
  5. phenomenology which is more emic (bracketing).
  6. In ‘Wetenschapsfilosofie in veelvoud’ (Bersselaar, 1997) …
  7. hermeneutics is related to meanings (domein van de betekenissen) and
  8. phenomology to experience (domein van de beleving)
  9. ?? Bryman says that nothing is clear cut, which makes it hard to frame my research with the right strategy, I find.
  10. I like Symbolic Interactionism: ‘interaction takes place in such a way that the individual is continuously interpreting the symbolic meaning of his or her environment (which includes the actions of others) and acts on the basis of this imputed meaning.’ (p. 17, should have been marked blue!)
  11. I think the three levels of interpretation are interesting to keep in mind:
  12. a) the interpretation done by the individual(s) studied,
  13. b) the interpretation hereof (a) done by the researcher,
  14. c) the interpretation hereof (b) done by the researcher in terms of concepts, theories and literature of a discipline.
  15. Learned a new word: predilection = voorliefde, voorkeur.

Influences on the conduct of research

  1. On p. 24 there is a checklist with the phases in which bias can occur:
  2. – choice of research area,
  3. – formulation of research question,
  4. – choice of method,
  5. – formulation of research design and data collection techniques,
  6. – analysis of data,
  7. – interpretations of data,
  8. – conclusion
  9. Good to keep in mind when writing the dissertation.
  10. Is being self-reflective the same as exhibiting reflexivity? (p. 25)

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  1. […] a mind-map (three levels of Bryman?) of the theoretical perspectives / concepts that I have […]

  2. […] >>> As a question: from which kind of perspectives can you look at the neighborhood story websites? No need to make explicit. here I will probably talk about the different levels from Bryman. […]

  3. […] Summarized Ch. 1 Bryman Social Research Strategies (3 levels of theories a.o.). […]

  4. […] this post about chapter 1 research strategies, here some notes about chapter […]

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