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Approach to Research depends on objective(s) of i) research ii) the nature of the problems, iii) method of analysis and extant of data. But objectives pursued through research are divers. This falls within the purview of theoretical research. Research may be driven by one of the following objectives or combination thereof: i) Enunciation of pure theory which generally uses deductive logicism; ii) Verification and validation of received theory, which needs empirical evidence to support the theory. The research is quasi in this case. It is based on inductive logicism since empirical evidence needs to be marshaled and analyzed for evaluating theory; iii) Empirical theorizes, which is based on general or specific evidence. It also uses inductive logicism as the base; and iv) Policy formulation or/and evaluation of effect of policy. Policy objectives may partly, if not wholly, be derived from the ideological or religious precepts and/or political objectives of the ruling class. Analysis impact of policy takes policy as given and it uses empirical evidence to examine the impact/effect of policy on the given phenomenon. Thus, it needs empirical evidence from the domain of policy implementation along with the objective(s) of policy that is sought to be achieved. Success or failure of policy is judged by a comparison of the state after implementation with the state that obtained before implementation. It uses inductive approach. Thus, there is no single research approach in social sciences. In real life situation, investigators generally use of different mix approaches. All these are used in social science jointly or separately.
Scientific Approach All above approaches fall within the purview of scientific approach to research. Approach to scientific research may broadly be classified into two distinct categories: i) ii) Positivism; and Normatism
The classification may, however, not be water-tight. Each of these approach may penetrate partially into the domain of the other. It may make it difficult to find a scientific investigation, which follows exclusively purely positive or purely normative approach, especially in social science research. Social science research, like 1
research in natural/physical sciences, follows scientific approach. But the subject matter of social science research differs radically from physical sciences. Subject matter of physical sciences, except medical and biosciences, deal with life-less innate matter. But social sciences deal with i) society, ii) institutions/organizations that are man-centric, and iii) human behavior. Then, unlike physical matter, human behavior is an indivisible integrated whole. The above facets necessitate that social science research approach has to be different from the approach of physical sciences in details as well as orientation, though its essence may still be scientific.
Above mentioned two fold broad categorization of approaches to scientific research may be further subdivided into the following categories:
Types of Approaches
1. Deductive Positivism based on Pure and Abstract Logicism; 2. Deductive Positivism based on Logicism supported by some generic/commonsense evidence and plausible premises and assumptions; 3. Inductive Positivism based on Logic and General but extensive empirical evidence; 4. Inductive Positivism based on logic and specific/ particular but extensive empirical evidence; 5. Normatism based on some objective standard/values and supported by empirical evidence and logic; and 6. Normatism based on ethical values and supported by evidence and logic.
This classification may be shown by the following graph:
Generic evidence General Evidence Specific Extensive evidence and logic Objectivity 3 .Deductive Positivism Inductive Positivism Subjectivity rather than objectivity Norm/standard objective evidence Base Base Ethical values Evidence Abstract Logicism Logic.
It generally does not lead to policy formulation.For understand the basic nature and features of these approaches. This aspect will take policy measures as cause and outcome of implementation as consequence. Positive approach takes assumptions to be true. Research is that each policy has a priori defined goal and the goad operates as the guidepost for policy formulation. Such aspects fall in the domain of normativism. may be linked to the possible outcome by positive approach. 4 . while the realization. or success and failure of policy. it starts with the given causes to logically/empirically work out the outcome/ effect of the operation(s) of these causes. First premises and assumptions care formulated either on the basis of experience or generic/commonsense for furnishing satisfactory answers to the facets of reality covered by these questions. On the basis of premises and assumptions in combination with evidence (induction) it proceeds to discover the cause(s) of a given outcome. Understanding of reality facts under consideration. It is neutral between ends. of this goal is the yardstick to measure the degree of effectiveness and efficacy. It considers facts as they are without any imposition of values or standard external to the reality of which facts are a part. made operational under policy. needing no testing and validation. The laws/theories formulated by positive approach may be universal. Alternatively. But the effect of factors measures. It starts with the consideration of reality. This is the function of positive approach. It does not fall within its domain whether the given outcome ought to be different from what it actually is. It addresses the questions what the given phenomenon is. partial or full. The validity of theory is tested taking its assumptions and premises to be true. why it is the why it is and how it cooperates. under the positive approach. explanation and understanding of positivism and normatism is necessary Positive Approach Positivism is objective.
The phrase ‘ought to be’ is value located as against the sentence ‘what it is’ which is value free neutral between different norms or standards. ii) Ethics. relation between cause and effect as a truism. Divergence maps the degree and direction of remedial measures to eliminate or at least reduce the divergence. It exams reality not to discover what its but to evaluate its departure from what is ought to be. Therefore. 5 . normative approach takes the core part of theory. Standard/norm may not start with facts. it means some assumption(s) is violated. All these embody ideological predilections. that is. though facts may furnish the subject for evaluation in relation to the norm/standard or goal of policy. it evaluates the divergence between facts and accepted norm or standard.Normative Approach Normative approach. It may have no universal relevance. It is subjective as norms/standards vary inter-temporally. it examines the given phenomenon in relation to what it ought to be. Norms or standards furnish policy paradigms. Remedial measures are often initiated under some policy with a given goal. conditions these are treated are reckoned to be remedied if not conform to norm. Divergence from the desired state suggest the extent of gap to be covered. as against positive approach. though the. is value or norm driven. If it does not apply to some case. Therefore. As against positive approach to research. Theory is transited to be valid. inter spatially and even inter personally. iii) Philosophy. iv) Economic Thought. and v) Social Thought. Norms/standards may be drawn from i) Religion. It tests the validity and relevance of assumptions on which theory has been erected.
For example. irrespective of the time-space domain of the context. Marshall (1892) posited a corrective to this view through his famous statement that ‘there are no laws in economics comparable to the exact law of gravitation’. rational and embody empirical realism 6 . Ambitions programs of industrialization for economic development and implemented on the objectively observed fact that the developed countries are highly industrialized. The twin implications of this premise are that a) social science research methodology may conveniently be patterned on the positive approach of physical and natural sciences. The above premise has been propounded by thinkers even in the early stages of evolution of social and economic systems. are universal in character. If the above view is accepted then it may be inferred that basic objective of social sciences is to evolve such comprehensive theories as are objective. which is based on positive approach. and that ‘economic laws are comparable to the laws. Another example is furnished by the macro economic models of development of developing countries which emanate from Klien-Tinbergen schools of thought. Similarly of Phenomena of Investigation 1) The phenomena studied in social sciences is in no way different basically from natural/physical phenomena. social laws in general and those of political economy in particular were postulated to be universally true. have been treated to be universal in nature and scope. applicable to human behaviour and his organizations/institutions on the pattern of Natural Laws. The following arguments are advanced to support this postulation. and b) Operations of social system like natural or physical systems. of tides’ like natural laws. Hence.Social Science Research and Positivism The conventional methodology of physical and natural sciences is based on positive approach which uses the assumption of ‘scientific objectivity’. The premise was used to develop social laws. or natural sciences. There is one school of thought that propounds the view that social science research should use the scientific methodology of physical.
therefore. Marshall. or linguists or at times sociologists by training and profession. Actual research in social sciences. and to some extent.N. 2. Methodology was mainly a subject of debate among philosophers and linguists. that is. the objective being social reforms through changes in social structure as are considered desirable. the world as it exists. Thus. But sociologists both by training and choice. Only a few economists like A. In our view. psychology. Mill. psychology. 7 .S. according to the sociologists. Physical/Natural sciences study nature.and relevance. The dominant view of scientific research. economics. and to a lesser extent. comes into these sciences autonomously. 3. Advent of statistical and mathematical methods of data analysis has bridged the gap. For example if caste system is a barrier to social development. if any. This evident from the methods of analysis used in investigation. Both have now the same methodological orientation. between social and physical sciences. management. sociologists err by considering social science to be co-terminus with sociology. Keynes and Milton Friedaman have deliberated upon this issue. is that physical /natural sciences pursue the positivist approach to research. So the vision is a bit colored and times even grey. Positivism. tend to be guided by what sociologists think and do. it ought to be abolished. This view dominates the literature on scientific method. Laws of social sciences in general. especially in such disciplines as philosophy. The sociologists tend to the concentrate on philosophy but conveniently over look the theory and practice of research in such disciplines as economics. Most of them were either philosophers. social science is a much broader term though a unified and integrated discipline of social science still remains to emerge. emerging from the ‘concept of science’. mix-up positivism with normatism. So the authors of most of the books on Research Methodology/Methods have used the term ‘Social Science’ in the context of methodology in an extremely narrow sense. J. J. sociology have mainly used positive approach in investigation.
preferences and values. 1983. appropriate for application on the basis of abstraction from mundane and non-essential details so as to focus on pivotal variables/factors. Hargopal and Vanmala. Lord Robbins declared that ‘there is no penumbra of approvation around equilibrium. Marx Milton Friedman. and hence. For example. As against this. theory of knowledge of empirical sciences. associated with the following characteristics: One school of thought considers traditional research methodology of social sciences to suffer from subjectivity in general and ideological predilections of individual scholars in particular. The basic purpose of concepts and theories is therefore. even though no particular ideology may directly be in their conscious mental focus. Keynes left some scope for historical context and legal framework of the times to have an impact upon the laws of economics and other social sciences. Also see Bose. therefore. 1995. The problem is further compounded by the intrusion of the fact that the investigator is also a part of the system he is investigating. however. It matters much whether one is a follower of Smith. Keynes or Malthus. whether one belongs to a conservative or a radical communist party (Cf. free from bias a rising from value judgement in general and ideology in particular. to explain the state of the system as it is and predict its future state. But he also postulated that theory takes legal framework to furnish a set of causative factors and what flows from there legal provisions are outcomes. equilibrium is just equilibrium’ and that ‘economists are entirely neutral between ends’. 51.Positivism in such disciplines as philosophy. 1983). sociology and economics is. N. are bound to use inductive positivism in order to develop a system of theories and analytical methods/tools and concepts that are relevant for the practices in real life. as early as 1932. The problem and challenge of scientific objectivity is still worsened because of the bias of social scientists governed as they are at least unconsciously by political and social attitudes. 8 . This naturally denies social science research an access to scientific objectivity which is associated with positivism. 5) Social scientists are eager to establish that social science research is objective and scientific in orientation and it is. J. 4) Epistemology. Narayan.
Mrs. Thus. Therefore. But vision and perception are difficult to evolve without explicit or implicit intrusion of values. p. The fact is that reality/truth or facts may be subject to a) observational. It is embodied in nature. irrespective of the existence or nonexistence of its observer. institutional framework and problems faced at the given time-space horizon. It is. Natural/ physical phenomena exist as these are. But both historical context and legal framework are conditioned by time-space configuration. According to her.Historical background provides only the material evidence to test or support particular theory and/or base for the derivation of empirically relevant inferences. b) space domain. free from observers’ bias. But probability of observational error is sedum zero. the phenomenon is not only the same in time-space domain on the one hand. and c) experimental/sampling errors. Thus ideological precepts and predilections protrude through historical evidence that had been conditioned by the farmer. b) measurement. which is never independent of values/ideology. but it is also independent of observational errors on the other. Rostows theory of stages of growth uses historical evidence to support its conceptual framework. reality itself is part factual and part perceptual. Joan Robinson (1969) also postulates that ‘man does not live by bread alone’. and c) observers’ domain. Scientific Methodology views a given phenomenon of study as an externally given and exogenously determined reality. Scientific methodology considers each observable phenomenon to be universal in nature. Sex and Ideology’ and ‘ideology does embody value judgements’ (Cf. Bose. Katona used the post second world war changes in socio-economic structure to construct his behavioral theory of consumption. truth is entrapped in nature. For example. Universality makes it independent of a) time domain. This view denies the probability of observational error to creep into the observer’s measurement or identification. Basic Thrust of Scientific Research 9 . But its observation resides in observer. therefore. It makes it almost impossible to separate ideological shade from reality.4). Then. man’s existence revolves round three pivots of life: ‘Bread.
if societal/economic studies have to be bracketed with those of natural sciences. however. does not invent truth. But philosophy is logic driven. Thus. 10 . social science theory has to be developed on the basis of understanding. D. These laws or theories are developed on the basis of observed regularities and patterns of operations and/or changes thereof.The scientific methodology performs two functions: 1) it discovers the truth. Then it has to be tested on the criteria of its ability to detect patterns and regularities in social processes and socio-economic changes and explain and/forecast the future changes or consequences thereof. The socio-economic phenomena/facts have to be discovered. He highlighted the need for the synethesisation of physical sciences. Mukerji (1958) supports the incorporation of philosophy without leaving empiricism out of social science research. he supports the combined use of scientific objectivity with factualism of empirical orientation and philosophical logicism. Radhakamal Mukerji advocated the adoption of even a wider view of social science research than D. which leads to the explanation and/or forecasting by the application of laws/theories. It.P. social science research to physical science research.P. therefore. and 2) it facilitates the study. the understanding of natural/physical world as it exists. Mukerjee. If. Received Theory Arguments The theoretical thrusts for explaining configuration and interrelations of various factors involved in social phenomena may be understood and explained better by looking at the positions taken by specific thinkers. its combination with empiricism will load it with objectivity mixing of inductive positivism with the logical objectivity of philosophy. explained and/or forecasted objectively. The data associated with the operational patterns and regularities are assumed to be universal in character. Therefore. and hence. philosophy and social sciences into an integrated whole in order to have the fusion of the best empirical rational approach of the West into the metaphysical and intuitive approach of the East. we shall look at some representative view points.
he not only advocated a fusion of Philosophy in Social Science Research. follow a set positivist pattern and standard. 1968) but he also brought Indian Philosophy in the centre stage of modern economic theory (A Philosophical Interpretation of Economic Theory). he himself practiced it even at the cost of marginalization as an economist in the profession dominated by Western Thought and Theory. This is an anti-positivist position. at least.As against this the dominant view among Western scholars is that the social sciences should follow the path traversed by physical sciences in research. But this position is invalidated by the research output of numerous sociologists. most of the scholars implicitly. 1962b. stand most of the text books of research methodology/methods. This is obvious fromt he fact that the research papers published in most Indian journals just carry a rudimentary statement. In the first instance. Mehta not only propounded the theory of Wantlessness (See Mehta. Shah (1962a. most of the Indian authors almost exclusively focus on statistical/mathematical techniques/methods of data analysis and 11 . J. they not only do not distinguish between method and methodology but also confuse methodology for a rudimentary statement about ‘data collection’. which has no relevant use for the techniques of empirical sciences. both these terms are used as synonyms. Hence. Prakash. Secondly. Positivist Approach The text books of Research Methodology/Methods. 1956. 1968) not only rejected the view of contemporary social scientists. This approach focuses on objective rationality in combination with mathematical abstraction and statistical empiricism to the exclusion of value judgments or norms derived from ethics. have rejected the approach of Mehta and Mukerjee. he also postulated that sociology is one of the species of metaphysics and metaphysical investigation. which have been authored by Western and Indian scholars. who follow the pattern set by western approach. Thus. K. Naturally. authored by Indians like their Western counterparts. As much greater degree of confusion prevails among Indian management experts. In juxtaposition to the above. For example. But he used deductive logicism. these books miserably fail to conceptually distinguish methodology from method.
do not have access to laboratory experimentation. over all approach to research in all social science subjects are thus assumed to be the same. ii) Statement of objective(s) of research. psychologists generate lot of data through experiments. Gopal (1964). socio-economic organizations/institutions and society in their own way. archives and historiography are the basic tools in historical research. Verma and Verma (1988). institutions and individuals as an integrated whole. iii) Formulation and statement of the hypothesis(es) to be evaluated and tested.confuse it to be synonymous with methodology. however. Use of the word social science postulates it to be one single and synthesizsed discipline comprising some general theory. structure. social sciences are an agglomeration of several disciplines each of which deal with human behaviour. use of the term social science is not stipulated to connote any one discipline. and Raj (1980) are all an illustration of this approach and the confusion which this approach embodies. But other disciplines of social sciences. they mean their own discipline of sociology. excavations. However. The design. v) Portrayal of the characteristics of sample 12 . Thirdly. though they implicitly assume that whatever is true for sociology should hold true for other disciplines. This is a stereo type approach to scientific research in social sciences. Similarly. Either it implies that the same methods are employable in research in all disciplines which are used in research by sociologists. i) Explanation of the sample design-size and method of data collection. Tandon (1979). and hence. Rajan (1968). Alternatively. Mohan (1984). when sociologists use the term social science. their implicit assumption is that the methods that constitute methodology are subject/discipline neutral. policy and practices pertaining to society and its constituent economy. Wilkinson and Bhandarkar (1979). The books by Sadhu and Singh (1980). Das Gupta (1967). For example. Ghosh (1982). including sociology. But the use of statistical and mathematical methods is put forward as the base of their claim for social sciences to be positive empirical sciences. Agnihotri (1980). comprise all or most of the well defined steps which are listed below: i) Statement and Explanation of the nature and importance of the problem of investigation. Steps in Research An appropriate approach may. or that they use the methods which are being used by others. logic.
ii) methodology. iii) logic. The issues and problems that research methodology deals with pertain to theory and are deeply rooted in philosophy on the one hand. vii) Presentation of results with their interpretation(s). finally. the objectives of research have to be identified. The objectives of research. 2) mathematical methods. Then. or/and 4) non-parametric statistical techniques of analyzing non-cardinal/ qualitative data. 13 . P. if any ( Prakash. One may also borrow hypotheses from other investigations if these have remained tentative. meaningful or relevant research has to be a fusion of i) theory. 1999). method(s) chosen for analyzing data and even data themselves provide the basis of hypothesisation. 1995).R. Cf. formulation of hypotheses. that is. including its philosophical base. ii) Then. Policy research is an additional item of the menu. and ii) application of one or more of the standard methods such as 1) historical/comparative.. It is in the light of the objectives that the explanation of nature and importance of investigation with reference to the contribution that the research may be expected to make to the current stock of knowledge has to be furnished and the theoretical or policy framework of analysis has to be explained.or database of the study. iv) empirical base. Bose. Above list of steps involved in scientific approach to research is obviously neither comprehensive nor all the steps are mandatory in each case. the stage of hypothesization is reached (Cf. and problems of empiricism that relate to i) descriptive portrayal of various features of the object/subject of study. P.K. In our opinion. experimental method. and v) analysis. vi) Explanation of the method(s) or technique(s) to be used for analyzing data.. specially with reference to abstraction from details for modeling. Bose. theoretical framework. first step in the initiation of research is i) identification and choice of the problem of research. 3) quantitative/statistical techniques. 2003. implications and suggestions/recommendations. implying as if there is no other alternative approach to scientific research. Conventional books present the above as ‘The Scientific Approach to Social Science Research’. and. In our view.
Thus. An obvious limitation is that this approach implicitly considers all individual units of social system to be uniformly standardized. there has to be an organic link between cause and consequence. Besides. investigators should modify the incrust of general theory to bring it into conformity with facts. It may. For example. one may be in a position to reflect upon i) the relevance of theory to empirical reality in the context of the problem of research. monetary income may be converted into real income in constant prices. Alternatively. one needs empirical evidence/data and technique/method of testing. analytical logic and method. At the end. which could be encapsulated in such summary statistical measures as mean/median. and ii) insights regarding the understanding and explanation of the problem that the results provide. data massaging may help in modifying facts to conform to the needs of theory. the theory.3). assumed to function as per pre-program. method and experiences. Under purely deductive positivism. Frequently. leaving no room for divergence dictated by time-space configuration. In other words. For hypothesis testing itself. This may be alright for macro/aggregate analysis. overlooking all the diversity and divergence from the average behavioural attributes. This was precisely the stand of classical economic analysis which was challenged by German Historical School in late nineties. in order to eliminate the influence of inflation on income. leaving the investigator to deal only with numbers and to abstract from human behaviour. regression/ correlation/ contingency coefficients. logic and theory alone does not suffice for hypothesis testing. ii) logic used for deducing conclusion(s). and/or the genesis and consequences of decision making at micro levels. Bose also points out several limitations of traditional approach. But for the empirical validation or verification of theory for its relevance for reality. All these have to be synthesized into an organic and integrated whole.Research commences with a theoretical apparatus or policy paradigm and it will end with the return to theory or policy after completing the detour through data. This 14 . But it may not suit the needs of micro studies. Above approaches assume that ‘the logic of hypothesis testing is the primary basis of scientific enquiry’ (p. be noted that it is the responsibility theory. theory has to be consistent with observed facts. all entities are robots. where individual traits get eliminated in the process of aggregating or averaging. however. besides theory and logic. specially its prediction/inference has to fulfill the criterion of consistence with i) assumptions used in its development.
however. but an exclusive concentration on hypothesis testing as if it is both the beginning and end of research may be inappropriate as a description of what most social science research does and what it ought to do. predetermined and pre-constituted’ to each player in the game.3). quite insufficient by itself. belief and behavioural propensity. The so called scientific approach is. which fail to pay proper attention to participants’ meanings. be noted. This is not the case with physical sciences. therefore. perceive the so-called traditional method of research to be characterized by following limitations: 1) Adhocism 15 . Between these two. whereas another view considers it to be the outcome of historical determinism. Researchers are also constituent parts of social processes. lies individual participants in social processes each one of whom may have a different perception. Bose (1995) also opines that the traditional scientific approach may suffice for the evaluation of data of natural sciences. ‘a researcher’s prior definitions. It may. concepts and hypotheses may impose a meaning on social relations. diversity of streams of thought and strands of theory may be educative. Characteristics of Traditional Method Those. they will learn to go deeper below the surface in order to extricate real factors involved in the systems of socio-economic operations and micro decision making processes. We may add another complex element to the above. who advocate the use of modern scientific approach to social science research to the exclusion of all other approaches. In this context. The point is not that hypothesis testing is entirely improper. which have an access to controlled experimentation. It makes researchers the subject of research itself.may also be fine for the beginners to initiate them into the complex knitty-gritty of social science research. But ‘social variables are often intrinsically more difficult to isolate and test’ (p. hoping that as they mature as researchers. Consequently. One view of social reality is based on fatalism. ‘Social reality may emerge as ‘pre conceived.
32). method and its refinement and sophistication will depend upon i) experience and expertise of the researcher. The method is devoid of scientific objectivity dominated as it is by Normatism rather than objective rationality. 1983. choices are coloured by the shades of all these factors. it is similar to econometric modeling in general and mathematical modeling in particular. What is common to all econometric models is the procedure of estimation of parameters. But methodology neither begins nor does it end with parametric extimation. Rao. rationality and ethical morality. Subjectivity Adhocism itself leads to another limitation and it is that the traditional method is quite subjective as it is dominantly dependent upon three qualities of the researcher that have been listed above. Naturally. counter argue that man is not a perfectly rational being. ii) his/her vision of the problem and its contextual framework. Disregard of this aspect induced economists to assume men not only to be rational but also to 16 . which draw heavily from ethics. 2. Want of Objectivity Intrusion of subjectivity into research often leads to the abandoning of objectivity. Thus. which may be used as guidelines by those who are not adept in the ‘science and art of modeling’. Needless to say that his decisions. and iii) status of knowledge at the given point in time (Cf. There is nothing available in literature by way of standard procedures and steps involved therein. p. This is what explains the existence of numerous models of growth and other econometric models. while ethics may be deeply rooted in religion and/or morality. Besides.The method is characterized by methodological adhocism in so far as it has no standard procedure to follow. The procedure and sequential steps vary from researcher to researcher and even from one to another problem of investigation. In this respect. this methodology is dominated by a priori adopted norms/standards and values. 3. The traditional research methodology is normative rather than positive. however. He is a mixed bundle of emotionality. One may. and hence. subjectivity may also jeopardize rationality.
Besides. hobbies and even fads and fashions. It is well known that the business enterprises also have their values. This led the German Historical School to challenge the British classical Economic Thought of eighteenth century. It implies that the answers to three basic questions of research: i) what is the observed phenomenon? ii) how does it operate or what is its operational mechanism/process? and iii) why is it the way it is. As against this. Consumption decisions are also shaped and guided by tastes.be selfish to erect the edifice of classical economics of highest degree of abstraction based on positive deduction. systems and their structures are all deeply guided and coloured by all these factors and shades of their inter-mix. Therefore. Research approach. The institutions/organizations and conditions surrounding them tend to i) change through time. No one operates in a vaccum. social science research methodology has to take cognizance of these factors in order to maintain relevance and remain rooted in realism for their time-space domain. 4. normatism dominated approach may revolve around value judgments and opinions of the researcher. imputed to tradition research methodology. Blurring of Difference between Facts and Values Another limitation. loaded with value judgments. 17 . This led philosophers like William Morris to dismiss economics as dismal science. Value judgments shall focus on questions of the following type: what ought this phenomenon be? How should it operate? What ought the observed relations be? Such responses push answers to the positivist questions into background or even oblivion. institutions. companies’ brand positioning in the market embodies all these aspects. or what are the causal relations among different facets of the observed phenomenon are dominated by normative responses. traditions and obligations that greatly affect their operational decisions. Social and other organizations. however. A mature and knowledgeable researcher will always club the normative set of answers under the heading ‘Suggestions and Recommendations’ many of which arise from the comprehensive view of an objective and scientific analysis. and ii) differ through space. need not necessarily be this. is that it does not distinguish facts from values. preferences.
or he/she does not possess the knowledge of numerous methods that exclusively deal with non-cardinally measured variables/attributes. irrespective of the methodology used. whereas business management and economics/econometrics are required to deal both with quantitative and qualitative factors. where researcher is either ill equipped to deal with quantitative aspects of the observed phenomenon. sociology and psychology deal largely with problems of qualitative nature. But this is considered to ‘be essentially disruptive of modern scientific methodology’ (Bose.4. Numerous statistical techniques are available for i) measuring qualitative facets/features numerically on an ordinal scale. But this does not imply the exclusion of rigour or compromise with the quality of research. p. Theory of attributes and association and rank correlation were the first to emerge to fill up this gap. which were considered to be purely qualitative and entirely non-measurable upto the first half of the twentieth century. 6) Imagination and Intuition Imagination and intuition are regarded as the basic components of traditional methodology of research. It is but natural that in some such cases quality rather than quantity shall be the dominant feature and focus of research. Rao. p. is bound to draw heavily from 18 . Now the cup has been filled up quite a bit. quantitative aspects may be dominant. and ii) analyzing ordinally measured variables/attributes. Such subjects as political science.36).5. that strives and seeks to generate new or original knowledge. Any research investigation. have now become measurable. Many factors/variables/attributes were earlier side tracked in the analytical apparatus because of the difficulties of measurement and quantitative analysis. Quality Vs Quantity It is also alleged that the conventional methodology is dominated by predominant focus on quality. while in other cases. This may be true in several cases. This is again a faulty view of traditional methodology. these are required to be used extensively in perceiving and conceiving the phenomenon of study at the individual level of scholar. which pushes quantitative aspects into oblivion/ background. It may also be noted that numerous aspects.
characterized by positivist’s rationality and objectivity. keeping scheduled castes. Therefore.the imaginative and intuitive insights of the scholar. the Ph. Nonsignificance. In a study of agricultural development of the state of MP and its constituent districts. in a study of demand for professional education in Pondicherry. tribes and other listed castes’ candidates academically less eligible for admission. without drawing from experience. allowing high degree of variance among 44 districts. regression coefficient attached to irrigation was not only not-significant but it was negative also. If the popular belief that Newton’s observation of an apple falling from tree became the basis of formulation of the law of Gravitation is true. As the proportion of irrigated area under cultivation has increased from 24 to only 26 per cent during a period of 15 years covered by the study. When time series data were replaced by cross section data. scholar found that the regression coefficient attached to caste variable (dummy) is not significant statistically. D. But the first spark was kindled by an intuitive understanding and insights. Research tends to flounder and go asunde if there is no vision or perception to guide (Myrdal). invariance of the regress or explained these results. Similarly. The results prompted us to find out the cause(s) underlying this otiose result. could have arisen from multi-colinearity. Eiensteien’s Theory of Relativity would have not been formulated only on the basis of controlled experiments without intuitive insights. it will lead to mechanistic interpretation of results. then Newton must have exercised his imagination and intuitive insights into his investigation for understanding the abserved phenomenon so as to transport it into the formulation of his famous law. results fell in place. correct interpretation is that the policy of reservation in admissions and lower eligibility 19 . It does not imply that Newton was frequently visiting Orchards to observe the apples fall from the trees. Similarly. Should we have concluded that either irrigation does not contribute to productivity and output. But fact is that reservation in admission eliminated academic handicap due to social factors. It is besides the point that the estimation of the precise value of gravitational force must have involved deeper investigation. existing stock of knowledge and insights. in technical terms. We may sight numerous examples when the traditional scientific methodology would have led us to come out with very ludicrous conclusions. So he concluded that caste plays no role in demand for professional education. Scholarships mitigated economic handicaps of such candidates. Even if one uses conventional scientific methodology. or that it contribution in MP is negative. But it does mean that Newton used his intuition and insightful understanding to formulate the law.
theology stood for ‘philosophical treatment of Christian doctrine’ (2001. the Methodology of Research has also traversed an evolutionary path. August Comte postulated that knowledge in its entirety may be conceived to have grown in an evolutionary manner. Knowledge in each phase differs from knowledge in any other phase since the foundation from which knowledge sprouted differs from phase to phase. he developed a schemata which compressed the historical growth of knowledge into three distinct phases of evolution. theology may connote ‘philosophical treatment of religions doctrines’. the methodology of generating knowledge changed from one to another phase of its evolution. ii) Metaphysical. The researchers’ understanding and competence obviously do play a decisive role in research irrespective of discipline and research approach. theology constituted the base and provided both the premises of knowledge and its generalization. The term ‘Theology’ has been derived from the Greek word ‘Theologia’. The refined concept of theology defines it as ‘the rational and systematic study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truth (WordNet). It the broader sense. The knowledge in all three phases pertained both to natural and human/social phenomena. This will reduce the role of the generators of knowledge largely interpretations to that of interpreters of religions doctrines. Besides. Different Phases and Stages of Evaluation of Methodology Like the evolution of the academic disciplines belonging to both natural and social sciences. the influences mould the individual behaviour. Obviously. In a narrow sense. Theology as the Base of Knowledge In the first phase.criterion have neutralized expected adverse effect of caste on demand for professional education. social 20 . According to Comte knowledge may be classified in to these stages and phases of the evolutionary process: i) Theological. For concretizing his views. The evolutionary time path of Research Methodology embodies different phases and stages the traversing through which has brought it to the current status and phase of its development. Online Etymology Dictionary). and iii) Scientifical.
where man and nature are the instruments of the realization of His Will. the eternal truth of its foundations and the temporal situation in which the eternal truth must be received’ (Tillich. and hence. 21 . As against this. Methodology in this phase also could have not freed itself totally or even partially from normatism. the process of the materialization of the phenomena and their underlying causal relations. the Animistic Knowledge sought to explain each aspect of human behaviour to be a reflection of human volition. God’s Will was ascribed to be the Instrument of the Natural Occurrences and Social Events as well as the determinants of their outcomes. that is. The outcomes are automatically pre-determined. performer. This almost verged on deterministic fatalism. The Notion of Divine Will or Intention came to be replaced by Abstract Concepts of Power and Cause in the metaphysical knowledge. Interoperations needed the application of i) logic. This is what Theistic Knowledge actually averred. Both the occurrence of such natural phenomena as floods. It obviously obviated the need to investigate the genesis. A more favorable interpretation may be drawn from Gita. A more inclusive concept states that ‘Theology moves back and forth between two poles. Scientific Base of Methodology The pacifist Approach to knowledge generation dawned with the advent of scientificism. Metaphysical phase of knowledge evolution revolved around meta-physics. Mythological Base of Knowledge Theological knowledge focused on events and occurrences rather than the real process of knowledge generation. famines. This is then similar to the philosophy of Gita which prophesises God to be the Sole and Actual Karta. and earthquakes and human/social events like wars were conceived to be the Outcomes of Divine Will. part physical part material and part theological. that is. 1951).organizations/institutions and values. and ii) speculative insights though the approach who propounded has largely to be embodied in value judgments.
Historical in Orientation. This is just one step short of anarchic approach which may envisage that eact investigation even within a discipline is autonomous. Berkeley.It is in the third stage that knowledge and the methodology of knowledge generation evolve themselves to converge towards scentificism. 22 . denying its laws universality. The scientific approach to generate knowledge endeavours to discover the Laws of Co-Existence and Succession. The Erklaren school designates Social Sciences as Human Sciences which are Contextual. value judgments. Methodology. the Method of Generating Knowledge started attracting explicit attention. Methodological Autonomy The principle of methodological unity of sciences was challenged by several thinkers. Comte.S. evoking conscious efforts for its continuous refinement and advancement along with the growth of knowledge. The Erklaren School supported by such philosophers as Droysen. Mill subscribed to the Principle of Unity of Science in Methodology in so far as all the scientific disciplines endeavour to discover causal relation underlying the phenomena under observation. Historiosity will definitely convert social science research and the knowledge emanating from it to be time-space domain specific. Kant and J. With the Advent of Scientifism. Coexistence implies the existence of the multitude of phenomena in proximity to each other. This unifies different sciences methodologically. Dilthey and Rickert postulated that all the sciences are methodologically autonomous. The proximate existence is postulated to imparts mutuality of interrelations and sequenciality of succession. The scientific approach to knowledge creation envisages the methodology to be endowed with Positivism which is independent of time-space domain. religiosity or social conventions/ traditions. and hence. Popper (1968) goes even a step further to postulate that each research investigation may embody a different methodology. It does not matter whether value judgments are entrapped in ethics or morality. Methodological Autonomy implies that each discipline traverses a different path in its research investigation which makes Research Methodology to differ from subject to subject. In this respect all sciences have to follow the similar approach to the discovery of truth and generation of knowledge about this truth as the Manifestation of Relationship between Cause and its Consequence. and hence. norms or standards.
Mystery makes Social Phenomena beyond explanation. the social phenomena may not be reproducible always as the phenomena do not recur. teleological laws have had a logical and legitimate place in the Historic Human Sciences and all social sciences converge towards historicity. the social phenomena. the social sciences are supposed to be Idiographic. great depression of thirties or development or under-development of economies and poverty of the people may be studied and understood. be considered to be teleological laws rather than being in the category of scientific causal laws. It therefore. Like the rare work of art. These thinkers opined that social phenomena have generally been Verstehen. The meaning attached to the term Explanation probably embodies ‘ability to forecast the future’. targets and even intentions or motivations and their outcomes. But this understanding does not bestow the social scientist with the ability to forecast as to when another world wide depression shall occur or third world war will take place. According to this school of thought. or why is it the way it is or why does it work the way it operates. Therefore. As against this. But we can not explain why the phenomenon is what it is. whereas ‘understanding’ may imply that we may endeavour to know ledge of what the phenomenon is and the cause that leads to the materialization of the given phenomenon’. mysterious and undefinable attribute or quality. the outcome of the launching of a recoverable satellite on the basis of known technology may be forecasted. Thus. The causes of the first and second world wars. we may be able to describe what the phenomenon is and how does the phenomenon operate. As against 23 . This makes social phenomena beyond explanation(s). Thinkers of this school perceive that social phenomena are characterized by VERSTHEN. it may not exactly be the same. Nachne (1995) opines that whereas the natural sciences attempt to explain the natural/physical phenomena. that is. Similarly. the occurrence of the solar or lunar eclipse may be predicted accurately. Even if it recurs. unlike the physical phenomena can not be predicted precisely. eludes objective explanation. therefore. social sciences strive to understand the social or human phenomena. In other words. Explanations furnished by teleological laws revolve round the goals.Thus. Social laws may. the study of social phenomena may either be partly or fully metaphysical or historic. The attribute of verstehen is that it is not only mysterious but it is undefinable also. Non-predictability of social phenomenon may be taken to imply its nonexplanability.
It may be safely stated that PHYICS is the Queen of all Sciences. Vision or Perception. Economics may be treated as the Queen of Social Sciences. causality emerges as the sine qua non of scientificism. Consequently. end up as Causal Laws. Alfred Marshall opined that the ‘then status of development of Economics was comparable to the status of Physics in early 16th century’. According to this view. Methodological Advances of Physics tend to emerge as the guidepost not only for natural sciences but also for social sciences. He propounded the thesis that no uniform Causal Law could be conceived to explain all Scientific Activities. For example. the Kingdom of Science has been expanding with the development of physics to encompass increasing number of disciplines within sciences. Innovation may differ between disciplines. Popper (1960). in the last quarter of 19th century. 24 . Naturally. was also convincingly converted to support the Principle of Unity of Science. who initially belonged to Erklaren School of thought. while its range and coverage of disciplines has been increasing continuously. though the objectivity. and hence. whose Kingdom has been expanding with its own development from political economy to economics.the implications of Comte’s evolutionary schemata. this unity has to be searched in the Diversity of Scientific Laws and Scientific Methodology. in the ultimate analysis. rationality and causality in approach and replicability and verifiability of results embodied in a law are the common traits of the principle of unity of science. Often other sciences use the status of physics as the Norm or Standard for comparison. Unity of Science should not be searched in such One Single Uniform Law for all sciences. Von Wright (1971) and Lakatos (1971) elaborately supported this thesis. Such advocates of the Principle of the Unity of Science as Braith Waite (1953) convincingly establish that the Teleological Laws. According to Taylor (1964). The matter of the fact is that science in its initial physical/natural science incarnation has itself evolved theoretically and methodologically. Naturally. Creativity. these thinkers do not consider social sciences to have a lower status than physical sciences in the hierarchical design of the methodological ladder. logicism.
It has had to traverse numerous vicissitudes in the evolutionary path of the Natural Sciences. Aristotle emphasized the importance of observation and the clear verification of individual sector perception. even in natural sciences. An important implication of this approach is that the Scientists have to observe the Repetitive Operations of Nature in order to i) Detect Uniformity/ Similarity of Pattern. He demonstrated the validity of his law by pushing two stones of unequal weight from the same height of a tower before a large gathering. Laplace and scientists like ‘Galileo and Newton’ perceived causality to be the Pivot of Scientific Laws. there are quite a few laws that could have been formulated and tested/verified outside the laboratories. Plato. But for determining the precise value of gravitational force of attraction. This implies the replicability and testability of the observed phenomena to free it both from observational and biased related errors. the Physical Scientists could have not been different from the Astronomers and Scocial Scientists who could also only be the Observers rather than the Experimenters with planets and social phenomena. Even the formulation of the law did not require refined laboratory experimentation in its initial version. Thus. ii) Isolate mundane and peripheral from the Core Factors/Forces. and iii) Isolate and Identify the Cause (s) from Consequence. They postulated causality to be encompassed both by Initial Conditions and Bounds or Limits within the constraints. could be encompassed in the formulation of a scientific law. Such philosophers as Aristotle. It implicitly embodied the law of gravitation. Besides. tools and instruments for experimentation must have been required. At this evolutionary stage. Galileo’s law that time taken by two or more matter of different weights depends independent of weight on distance between the surface of earth and height from which these fall. 25 . The scientific laws have to have bounds and initial conditions in order to be applied to explain the natural events or occurrences on the basis of causality.But causality as the principle of unity of science has itself gone through several phases and stages of evolution. Only then the causal link with the property of verifiability. But Plato was probably the first thinker to elaborately build an structure of systematic thought on knowledge generation from rational perspective. Nature has not been conceived to offer the Opportunities of Experimentation. which Popper so greatly emphasizes.
Such examples may be multiplied. Podolsky’s and Rosen’s (1935) experiments challenged the fundamental proposition of Copenhagen quantum school that a body does not simultaneously possess an exact position and exact momemtum. This points towards the multidirectional interrelation of mutual dependence in the ultimate stage. The emergence of Quantum Mechanics and Instrumentalism adversely affected the acceptability of causality as the sole base of scientific laws. ii) Thinkers like Buge (1973) and Levy-Leblond (1977) have also challenged the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. Balmer’s formula for the wavelengths of the spectral lines of hydrogen. Then. Kepler’s laws of planet any motion. we all look upon it as a shorthand description. and 26 . these may be treated as useful instruments for dealing with observable events and objects. Natural sciences have witnessed a resurgence of causality due probably to three reasons (Nachane. Galileo’s law that time taken by an object to traverse the given height is proportional to distance rather than its weight do not embody any explanation or causality despite these being accepted as scientific laws. 1995): i) Einstein’s. as an economy of thought’. For example. all the scientific laws may not furnish causal explanation. According to Nachane (1995). Copenhagen school of thought interpreted quantum mechanics as Quantum Events which have to be treated as the outcome of human intervention. Instrumentalism postulates that scientific theories. This point of view has found sustenance in Walrasian System of General Equilibrium Analysis in Economics. The view that causality is the Essence of Scientific laws has meanwhile been adversely affected by several factors. Like Fads and Fashions. That is probably why Bertrand Russel opined that ‘in a sufficiently advanced science. Pearson also opined that ‘Nobody believes that science explains anything. This ruled out subjectivity free or value neutral causal relation. Hume perceived causality as ‘Nothing More than Constant Conjunction’.But Causality as the hallmark of Scientific Laws was neither unanimously accepted nor all scientific laws are causal. can not be taken as completely true. the word ‘cause’ will not occur in any statement of invariable laws’. academic opinions also tend to change in a cyclical fashion. pertaining to unobservable entities. For example Hume (1739) and Pearson did not accept the Principle of Causation as the essence of scientific laws.
Plato used similar logic to prove the existence of Atlantis. A. W. Keynes. Karl (1911) The Grammar of Science. 1955. Russel’s Human Knowledge: Its scope admits four out of five postulates that he propounds as the foundation of scientific knowledge which are based on causal relations. and A. The M. Pierce (1883).A. N. Markov (18561922). Salmon. (1935) An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science. (1995) On the Nature of Inference and Explanation in Economics. Reprinted by Collins Fontana. (1992) Essays on Philosophy and Economic Methodology. York. Caman (1950). N. No. S. Radhakrishnan (1973) Private Demand for Education Analysis of Socio –Economic Factors-A Case Study of Saugor University. Vadodra. R. M. N. Feller (1968) Hausman. (1977) The Foundations of Scientific Inference. 125). Keynes (1921). D. Free Press. London. (1953) Essays in Positive Economics. (1953) Scientific Explanation. Friedman. London. Vol. G. N. Nair. (1979) Causality in Economics. Braithwaite. Third Edition. (1842) Cours de Philosophie Positive. J.S. 2. Robbins. Paris (Qouted from Nachane). University of Baroda Press. Cambridge University Press. Blaug. Cambridge University. 1968. Macmillan. Russel (1914) Our Knowledge of the External World. Nachane. (1965) Aspects of Scientific Explanation and other Essays in the Philosophy of Science. Press Hicks. (1917) The Scope and Method of Political Economy. Comte. (1739) A Treatise of Human Nature. Kanpur. Y. Braith Waite (1953). whereas Markov Chain Probability Models have found numerous areas of application. Meridian Books. while other philosophers used it to prove the absurdity of Newton’s mechanics (Feller. of Pitts Burg Press. R. There have been numerous contributors to the development of Stochastic Theory. Maya (Editor) Essays on Economic Policy Methodology and Human Resources. IIT. 1957. Shri (1972) Population in India. Kolmogorov (1936) have richly contributed to the development of stochastic system. D. N. Reprinted by A Kelly. Pearson. p. Hume. M. J. IX. C. (editor) Method and Appraisal in Economics. 1970. M. Bernoulli (1869). D. Un. A. C. Popper. Basil Books. Y. (1976) Kuhn Versus Lakatosov Paradigms Vs Research Programmes in the History of Economics. The Theory dealing with the causality in stochastic systems has formally been developed by Hempel (1966). London. References Nachane. R. 27 . University of Chicago Press. In Shah. Karl (1960) The Poverty of Historicism. Baye’s rule for the conditional probability of causes has been extensively used. Twelfth All India Econometrics Conference. Cambridge University Press. Laplace (1812).. Hempel. 1951-70.iii) It has been accepted that the Principle of Casualty is also applicable to the Stochastic Systems. M. Suppes (1970) and Salmon (1984). Manpower Journal. L. In Latis. Quoted from D. Prakash. York.
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