In the trenches of method: the teaching of methodology in social sciences in Brazil

Ignacio Cano About the author

This paper reflects on the traditional teaching of social sciences in Brazil based on a previous diagnosis of its excessive focus on classical sociology and on scholarship to the detriment of empirical research. Second, we seek to analyze the teaching of social sciences methodology in the country, which is permeated by a false opposition between quantitative and qualitative techniques. These latter, further, are raised to the status of different, and even conflicting, methods. Such methodological war is often ended by the defeat of the supposed 'quantitative method' to which epistemological problems of origin and even ideological contents are associated. In this context, the term 'positivist' is typically used as a kind of methodological insult, rather than referring to an actual epistemological theory. For the winner methodological perspective research would be rather an art than an enterprise subjected to objective and strict validity criteria. Such a context allows that other professionals as economists and statisticians come to occupy, in practice, the space neglected by social scientists.

Methods in social sciences; Quantitative and qualitative techniques; Teaching of methodology


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