Beyond Method

Strategies for Social Research


Published in 1983, this book builds on the framework offered in Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis, contrasting the assumptions and approaches of fourteen different research methodologies. Morgan invited a range of collaborators who were leading exponents of the different methodologies to outline their fundamental assumptions and how these assumptions get translated into a particular methodological approach.

After illustrating the methods e.g. positivist, interpretive, critical, transformational, radical and class-based, Morgan explores their similarities, differences and contradictory nature. This leads him to his view of “research as conversation” which, like all conversations, he contends, should be open to different voices. In this way he seeks to advance the cause of an open and reflective social science capable of exploring the multiple dimensions of social life.

The book has established itself as a classic text on research methodology, spawning numerous debates and articles. Morgan’s opening and closing commentaries provide excellent introductions to the constructive postmodern approach to theory and research articulated throughout his later work.