The identity of sociology or what to do when the universe is unknown: qualitative solutions against the quantitative obsession
Social Sciences can, on occasions, be similar to the so called “hard” sciences. However, in many cases, neither the object nor the classical methods fit in with the objectives of the work. The object requires methodological and technical adjustments, which are often avoided by means of an improper rigidity of the object’s needs. These adjustments can even alter the original research idea. The main objective of this article consists of proving that those objects of study, less suitable to be addressed by rigid positivistic strategies, can be approached both scientifically and sociologically. This can be achieved with the use of different strategies and flexible methodologies to ensure validity and reliability standards. This paper will be posed, firstly, a reflection on the epistemological nature of the debate about the rigid-flexible perspectives. Secondly, the strategies and tools used by the research team to achieve the reduction of the uncertainty about the size and characteristics of the population studied will be described. Finally, some of the survey results obtained in this project will be compared to those provided by the FAMILITUR Survey (2008), conducted by the Spanish Institute of Tourist Studies (IET)
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