In the past it was generally taken for granted that the goal of
social research was the production of objective knowledge; and that
this required a commitment to value neutrality. In more recent
times, however, both these ideals have come to be challenged, and
it is often argued that all research is inevitably political in its
assumptions and effects. In this major contribution to the debate,
Martyn Hammersley assesses the arguments from the classic and still
influential contributions of C. Wright Mills, Howard Becker and
Alvin Gouldner to the present day. He concludes that the case for
partisanship is not convincing, and that an intelligent and
sceptical commitment to the principles of objectivity and value
neutrality must remain an essential feature of research.
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