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Forschungsmethoden und Erkenntnispotential Natur- und Sozialwissenschaften im Vergleich


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  • Mayntz, Renate
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    Alle Wissenschaften, die nachprüfbare Aussagen über reale Phänomene machen wollen, müssen in der Lage sein, diese zu erfassen. In vielen naturwissenschaftlichen Forschungsgebieten hat der ständige Fortschritt in der Mess- und Beobachtungstechnik zu einer kumulativen Wissensentwicklung geführt. In den Sozialwissenschaften hat es dagegen aufgrund der Beschaffenheit ihrer Erkenntnisobjekte nur vergleichsweise geringe technisch bedingte Fortschritte bei ihrem beobachtenden und messenden Erfassen gegeben. Hier findet der Wissensfortschritt deshalb weniger durch immer tiefenschärferes Beobachten und genaueres Messen als im Bereich der Datenauswertung und der theoretischen Interpretation statt. Dabei spielt moderne Forschungstechnik in Gestalt des Computers eine wichtige Rolle. Da der Computer auch in den Naturwissenschaften schwergewichtig bei der Auswertung empirischer Daten eingesetzt wird, hat diese Form der Forschungstechnik heute für den Erkenntnisfortschritt in Natur- und Sozialwissenschaften eine vergleichbar große Bedeutung. -- All empirical sciences must be able to observe and measure their objects of cognition. In many natural sciences, steady progress in research technology has led to cumulative advances in scientific knowledge. Due to the nature of social phenomena, technical artifacts and procedures cannot significantly improve scientific observation and measurement in the social sciences. Here scientific progress follows from advances in data evaluation and interpretation rather than from increases in observation and measurement. It is in the evaluation phase of the research process that technology, in the form of the modern computer, has become important for social science development. Since the computer is used for data analysis also in the natural sciences, this particular research technology bridges the methodological divide between natural and social sciences, playing a similarly important role in both.

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    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in its series MPIfG Discussion Paper with number 05/7.

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    Date of creation: 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgd:057

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    1. Timur Kuran, 1989. "Sparks and prairie fires: A theory of unanticipated political revolution," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 61(1), pages 41-74, April.
    2. Nigel Gilbert & Andreas Pyka & Petra Ahrweiler, 2001. "Innovation Networks - a Simulation Approach," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 4(3), pages 8.
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