Hubert Knoblauch: Reflexive Methodology and the Empirical Theory of Science. [Abstract]

Inspired by hermeneutics tradition, qualitative as well as quantitative social research has realized that the subject matter of the social sciences is always interpreted by the actors studied. Social studies of science have also demonstrated that science itself depends on preinterpreted knowledge. In recent decades, it therefore became increasingly clear that any scientific methodology needs to account for the positionality of researchers and their methodology. In addition to the abstract armchair methodologies of scientific “reasoning,” reflexive methodology has been proposed as an approach to empirical study of more than just the procedures and methods of the very researchers who are doing research, such as the videography of videography. It is one goal of this paper to stress that reflexive methodology is not a self-contained method describing and analyzing the practical methodology of one’s action. To the degree that the analysis of the “real live” method is intended to guide research, reflexive methodology has also normative implications. As these normative implications have been referred to by the label theory of science, the second goal of this presentation is to delineate the idea of empirical theory of science.

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