Introduction Despite 50 years of development experience, fundamental questions remain unanswered. The world still lacks a comprehensive theoretical framework that adequately explains such phenomenon as the accelerating velocity of development exhibited by East Asian countries, the failure of Malthusian projections, the growing contribution of non-material resources not subject to depletion, the apparent failure of market policies in the transition of Eastern Europe, and conflicting predictions about the future of work based on the contrary recent experiences of North America and Western Europe. A profusion of economic theories provide explanations for specific expressions of development, but none unite the pieces into a unified theory that adequately defines the central principles, process and stages of development.
Introduction One of the major claims made regarding qualitative methods is that they diverge from scientific explanation models in terms of the need for hypothesis testing.
A scientific hypothesis is based on a background theory, typically assuming the form of a proposition whose validity depends on empirical confirmation. Otherwise, a hypothesis is nothing but an imaginative conjecture. Moreover, when researchers do not obtain empirical confirmation for their hypothesis, the theory in question or part of it may not be able to predict relevant aspects of the phenomenon under investigation.
Their primary interest is to achieve understanding Verstehen of a particular situation, or individuals, or groups of individual, or sub cultures, etc.
In summary, qualitative methods are primarily inductive, in contrast to the deductive methods of experimental science. The debate centers around how we justify that what we know is valid.
More specifically, induction is the form of reasoning based on empirical observation in the process of developing scientific laws and theories. Thus, induction negotiates the relationship between empirical reality and its theorization, in addition to the production and validation of knowledge. For example, qualitative methods have been accused of reflecting the problems pointed out by philosophers of science e.
In other words, qualitative researchers tend to prioritize logic emerging from experience, preferring to expand their knowledge from it as opposed to using a priori, deductive, concepts.
Qualitative researchers have for decades reacted to this distorted view of the field e. Of the many examples that could be cited, I highlight grounded theory methodology GTM. There are differences among researchers using this approach e.
GTM rests in a state of permanent tension between 1. What is the role of theory in qualitative research? Alternatively, what function do empirical data play in the theorizing process? Answering these questions is important for the continuing advancement of qualitative methods as well as the inclusion of this field in the discussions of similar issues that have been witnessed in the philosophy of science.
As a starting point, I recapitulate the main characteristics of the so-called problem of induction, arguing that it raises important questions regarding the value of theory in science.
Next, I review ways of describing the theory-empirical data relationship that have been proposed in order to address the problem of induction in the realm of the philosophy of science. Against this backdrop, I discuss how qualitative researchers have dealt with the question of induction, using a "generic analytic cycle" common to qualitative methods as an illustration.
In the last sections, I propose reconsidering the role of theory in qualitative research. I argue for the need to recover a substantial definition of theory in these studies.
According to HUME there are two primary ways to validate knowledge: Knowing facts is equivalent to identifying their causes and effects. However, observing facts, describing them in their manifestation, does not amount to science.
There must be a leap from the visible to the invisible, and herein lies induction: The inductive leap allows us, based on singular facts, to create statements about sets of facts and their future behavior. What permits us to go from a singular fact to a statement about facts in general or future facts?
According to HUME induction does not involve a logical base. The "statement about all" is not contained in the "statement about some. HUME claims that it is merely habit that causes us to think that if the sun rose today, it will do so once again tomorrow.
There is therefore a psychological component in this knowledge-building process. In other words, HUME demonstrated that passing from some to all is an emotionally and imaginatively based process, and that the root of any knowledge is sensory experience.
The past may not be the best guarantee for current knowledge; otherwise, how can we explain unpredictable events? In the well-known analogy cited by POPPERthe fact that we observe innumerable white swans does not allow us to assume that there will never be a black one.
Another relevant question is distinguishing between empirical generalizations, based on the observation of a recurring number of singular cases, and universal generalizations, in the form of laws.The Journal of the ACM (JACM) provides coverage of the most significant work on principles of computer science, broadly construed.
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