By Johann Mouton, H. C. Marais
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Extra resources for Basic Concepts in the Methodology of the Social Sciences (HSRC studies in research methodology)
In terms of this assumption (Popper’s fallibilist thesis’), the primary aim of methodological reflection is to increase the ultimate validity of research findings by ensuring that errors and inaccuracies are eliminated by means of rational research decisions. The existence of a variety of research methods, paradigmatic preferences, and differences in phenomena, suggests that it is erroneous to assume that a single correct research methodology, appropriate for all situations, may be found. More often than not, the researcher will only be able to control for some of the threats to validity and nuisance variables.
18 THE TELEOLOGICAL DIMENSION This dimension refers to the fact that social science, as a typical human activity, is goal-driven. It is, therefore, not surprising that a whole range of definitions of the possible goals of a discipline are found in the literature. The traditional distinction between theoretical and practical goals is still useful in classifying these goals. • Theoretical goals such as theory construction or theory building, understanding human behaviour better, explanation and prediction of human behaviour and gaining insight into social reality.
Za instruments and data-collection methods can be used? How should the collected data be analyzed? What does the findings mean and how do they relate to the original formulation of the problem? Methodology, then, is defined as the logic of the application of scientific methods to the investigation of phenomena. According to this definition methodology refers to the logic of the decision-making process in scientific research. We would therefore agree with Kaufman’s statement that research methodology is the theory of correct scientific decisions (1944: 230).