OverviewHow do social scientists study the social world? Is social scientific practice in transformation? Can social science learn from its own past?Social Science in Question provides an accessible and authoritative guide to both traditional debates and new approaches to knowledge construction in the social sciences. The book takes the reader on an intellectual journey starting with the story of modern science and the impact that this has had on social scientific practice, and going on to outline and critically review the major approaches to social scientific inquiry, ranging from positivism to postmodernism. This innovative text poses questions about the recent 'cultural turn' in the social sciences. The central dilemmas of the philosophy of social sciences are readdressed in the light of contemporary debates on: perception and imagination; detachment and involvement; simplicity and complexity; representation and reality; and subjectivity and objectivity.The text features:and#183; illustrations and activities which enable students to think through the implications of each approach to social scientific practice;and#183; direct examples and illustrations from across the social scientific disciplines - sociology, cultural and media studies, psychology, criminology, envionmental studies, social policy and politics;and#183; short readings at the end of each chapter, which are integrated into the activities and discussed in the main text;and#183; summaries, marginal notes and diagrams to help students to identify key issues and arguments.Throughout the text, readers are encouraged to think carefully about what it means to: study the social world in a scientific way; make connections between what they do and the everyday lives of the people they study; and look beyond their discipline and think in a postdisciplinary way.Social Science in Question addresses the needs of advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students across the social sciences on courses addressing theories of knowledge construction and their implications for research practice, and the philosophy of the social sciences. It is the Course Text for the Open University's Postgraduate Foundation Module (D820 The Challenge of the Social Sciences).