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VIDEO-PODCASTS OF THE FRIAS LUNCH LECTURE SERIES "Quantitative vs. qualitative methods across sciences"

Quantitative vs. qualitative methods across sciences: mutual reinforcement, (un)happy co-existence, or source of schisms?

At a time when in most sciences (including the humanities and social sciences) quantitative methods have come to play a central role, it should be explored which role qualitative methods (still) play in different disciplines, in terms of research questions, trends and schools of research, the publication of research results and, not least, in the training of Master and PhD students. Questions to be addressed by FRIAS fellows and members of FRIAS project groups from a wide range of disciplines include the following:

  • In which disciplines have both types of methods played a role alongside each other for a rather long time, and what consequences has this had on these disciplines?
  • In which disciplines have quantitative methods made inroads largely due to the IT and internet revolutions, and what consequences has this had?
  • Is the relationship between (schools of) researchers primarily or exclusively working with one or the other type of methods one of mutual recognition and support, or rather one of tension, skepticism and, ultimately, rejection?
  • Has the quantitative turn of the last few decades led to new alliances across disciplines, possibly even bridging traditional divides between the natural, life, and behavioral sciences, on the one hand, and the humanities and social sciences, on the other hand?
  • Does this fundamental methodological debate (or, in the worst case, battle) have the power to decide about the future of early-career researchers?

Unhealthy Habits: Unlearning Methodological Divisions to Enable the Study of Drug-using Social Worlds,  November 23rd, 2017

Methods are committed modes of attention that students learn over time as they are initiated into disciplinary knowledge projects. Mature researchers comfortably inhabit methods. An assumption that has become an unhealthy habit, the quantitative/qualitative divide, haunts the social sciences and to a more limited extent the humanities. In advocating the unlearning of this “unhealthy habit,” this talk reimagines Conceptual methodologies for making knowledge. This lunch lecture tells the story of how interdisciplinary Science and Technology Studies has evolved meta-methodologies in order to integrate and critically situate sciences that straddle the qualitative/quantitative divide.

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Research in Legal Science, December 15th, 2017

Lorena BachmaierHow relevant is the dichotomy “qualitative versus quantitative research” within the legal scientific research? Is conceptual legal analysis out-dated and empirical socio-legal methodology should gain more significance? These questions shall be addressed in the light of the research topic of the new challenges in preventing and investigating terrorism and other forms of transnational organised crime. The legal response has to be taken at an international or supranational level, and while ITS allow to act beyond sovereign borders, most of the mechanisms are still state-based and subject to their own constitutional framework. Questions as for the possibility of accessing electronic communications and data located out of the territorial borders; or the question if the information gathered for preventive or security purposes could be used under certain circumstances as evidence needs to be rethought. In how far quantifying data can provide a more accurate methodology to these questions is to be discussed.

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Reflecting on the quantitative turn in Linguistics, 11. Januar 2018

Bernd Kortmann

Independent of branches like Quantitative Linguistics and Computational Linguistics, linguistics has witnessed a quite remarkable quantitative turn over the last two decades. Major drivers of this development have been the design of ever more and ever larger electronic corpora, the increasing importance of psycho- and neurolinguistic experiments in exploring language processing and language variation, and the availability of ever more sophisticated statistical tools for handling large, complex linguistic data sets. Has this quantitative turn been to the detriment of qualitative methods, or even of linguistic theorizing in general?  Has linguistics reached the point of a "quantitative crisis" yet, as it has recently been proclaimed for a range of academic disciplines, or is it still a discipline characterized by a healthy equilibrium, if not mutual reinforcement, of quantitative and qualitative approaches?


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Data Collection and Data Analysis in the Social Sciences, January 25th, 2018

PankeHow to design research projects? What is good research question? Which methods of data collection and which methods of data analysis are available and which ones should be used for a specific project? Students and scholars of the social sciences are confronted with these and similar questions when designing research projects. This talk addresses the most prominent techniques of data collection and data analysis and discusses the merits of mixed-approaches.