Handbook of Social Capital

Handbook of Social Capital

The Troika of Sociology, Political Science and Economics

Elgar original reference

Edited by Gert Tingaard Svendsen and Gunnar Lind Haase Svendsen

The Handbook of Social Capital offers an important contribution to the study of bonding and bridging social capital networks, balancing the ‘troika’ of sociology, political science and economics. Eminent contributors, including Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom, explore the different scientific approaches required if international research is to embrace both the bright and the more shadowy aspects of social capital. The Handbook stresses the importance of trust for economies all over the world and contains a strong advocacy for cross-disciplinary work within the social sciences.

Chapter 22: Mixed Methods Assessment

Veronica Nyhan Jones and Michael Woolcock

Subjects: business and management, organisation studies, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory


1 Veronica Nyhan Jones and Michael Woolcock Introduction Social capital, in its best forms, contributes to economic, social and political development by enabling information-sharing, mitigating opportunistic behavior and facilitating collective decision-making (Woolcock and Narayan, 2000). Although theoretical and conceptual debates properly continue, and will be unlikely to ever reach a clean resolution (Szreter and Woolcock, 2004), these have occurred alongside efforts to enhance the quality and scale of empirical data available to assess the claims (and counterclaims) made regarding the efficacy of social capital, especially in the field of international development. The range of data sources now spans the full gamut of social science, from national household surveys, historical records and field experiments to case studies, key informant interviews and ethnographic investigations; all have been deployed in an effort to better understand the nature and extent of social relations in particular communities, its trajectories over time, and its consequences for human welfare. Most research conducted on social capital in developing (and, for that matter, developed) countries, however, has been conducted using a single methodological instrument (for example, surveys or participant observation). With the notable exception of Anirudh Krishna (2002, 2007), researchers have worked predominantly with either quantitative or qualitative methods, a consequence being that opportunities for fruitful exchange between approaches have been lost. Moreover, the actual content of the tools used to collect data on social capital – as opposed to the final results obtained from them – have rarely been disclosed or made available to other researchers to...

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