Giampietro Gobo

Generalizzare da un solo caso? Lineamenti di una teroria idiografica dei campioni

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Survey researchers have often disqualified qualitative research because it is based on non probability samples. However they do not realize that in social science probability samples are not easy to achieve because of a number of practical reasons. In addition most of the contemporary sociological theory is based upon ideographic research. This implies that issues of sampling, representativeness and generalizability need to be re-framed in a different perspective: a) looking at the research practice of disciplines (such as paleontology, ethology, biology, archeology, anthropology, cognitive science, linguistics and so on) whose scientific work is based on few cases; b) reflecting on the particular nature of social objects. Following this perspective, in social studies representativeness and generalization become often a practical matter, hardly ever an outcome of automatic or standard procedures.

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