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Sociologias

Print version ISSN 1517-4522

Abstract

MARINO, Juan Mario Fandiño. Foundations of the "Causal Methodological Paradigm" in social sciences. Sociologias [online]. 2012, vol.14, n.31, pp. 20-50. ISSN 1517-4522.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1517-45222012000300003.

The present paper reflects on the underlying logic of the so-called 'quantitative methods' applied to social sciences. The account of such underlying logic is framed within the efforts towards establishing the existence of a single comprehensive logic for both the most typical approaches to social sciences methodology, namely the qualitative and the quantitative. This single logic is pursued by means of Kuhn's concept of "scientific paradigm" (1975), where methodological issues represent, while 'work assumption', a particular instance of scientific paradigm, distinguished from other paradigms by the absence of symbolic generalizations, anomalies and 'revolutions', and by the substantive role of procedural models, primarily regarding evidence provision. For this purpose, the paper presents a concise review of Kuhninan paradigms and, then, analyzes the so called quantitative  methodological tradition in social sciences - particularly in sociology - in the light of such paradigms, and coining the term 'causal methodological paradigm' (CMP). Therefore, by means of the paradigmatic framing of these two approaches (though that of qualitative method is postponed to a future step in this research line), it will be possible to establish whether the interface between the two approaches meet the assumption of an underlying methodological common logic. In the affirmative case, the competing perspectives on issues of choice and composition between the two practices would be reduced - and even eliminated - thus contributing to the consolidation of mixed methods, qualitative-quantitative, strategies. Finally, it is worth noting that CMP's underlying logic implies the combination of the concept of cause, in its broad sense, with the experimental model and its developments It does not mean, however, to assume that the instrumental role of qualitative methods in the own CMP relies on either the notion of cause, or experiment or whatever comparisons.

Keywords : Quantitative methods; Social sciences; Causal methodological paradigm; Mixed methods.

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