Engaging Social Science Students in the Philosophy of Science: 10 Pieces of Advice on How to Teach a Difficult Subject

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It can be challenging to introduce the philosophy of social science (PoS) to students in the social sciences. Noting the lack of literature providing guidance to the prospective PoS teacher, this paper outlines several pieces of advice on how to engage social science undergraduates in the subject. This advice centres on showing the relevance of the PoS in academia and beyond, reducing complexity and presenting only a few contending PoS perspectives. It is also proposed to use textbooks with caution or avoiding them altogether, illustrating how PoS assumptions are embedded in contemporary social research and showing the connection between the PoS on one hand and research questions, methods, and theory on the other. Finally, the importance of showing students how they can make use of the PoS in their own work and teaching the subject in a ‘hands on’ manner is emphasized.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Critical Realism
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)385-400
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Published online: 05 Apr 2022.


  • Philosophy of science
  • Teaching
  • Education
  • Critical realism
  • Constructionism
  • Positivism

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