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Explanation and Interpretation in Social Science

An integrated view with specific reference to case studies

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Lingua:  English
Book 1 & 2 are an illustrated discussion of different explanatory, interpretative approaches to social research as well in the enrichment approach of the understanding with case research as its base.
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BOOK II offers a critique of interpretations made to look like explanations, expretations. Next it offers a more precise expansion of explanation as a multi-level endeavour. This not only make it possible to integrate different scientific disciplines into a whole, it may also help us to get a grasp of the social change along a time line. A perspective, which the author conceived during his work with longitudinal cross-comparative case studies and which he here develops, step by step, into a working model for emergence.

The last chapter is a discussion of and an illustrative new emphasis on understanding as the unique feature of case research as an experience of enrichment and a liberation of the researcher from preconceived – all too often second hand - perceptions. This further more add new dimensions to subjective-objective controversy surrounding case studies. Binding interpretation, explanation and understanding together.

  1. From Expretation Towards Explanation
    1. An alleged outside approach
    2. The “truest” cause
    3. – Facets from the history of social research since Thucydides
    4. “Do not let your self be beaten”
    5. Towards rules for the social
    6. Introducing weak and strong explanations
    7. Cause – A white dove or…?
    8. On the road from weak towards stronger explanations
    9. Behaviourism, statistical analysis and experiments
    10. Towards stronger explanations, – from linear to more complex rules
    11. An extension of the Social Positivism of Durkheim
    12. Arguments in favour of explanatory designs
    13. The call for reliability
    14. Generalization as a practical challenge, external validity
    15. A most breath taking challenge
    16. Examples of emergence – however speculative – in the social domain
    17. Models of emergent social behaviour
    18. Emergence as an analytical tool for social research
    19. Emergence sets the stage for longitudinal case research
    20. The tension between an interpretative and the explanatory approach
  2. Towards Understanding As Enrichment
    1. Introduction
    2. “Understanding” – a word with a multitude of meanings
    3. Introducing the approaches of Weber, Schleiermacher, Dilthey as well as Schütz to “understanding”
    4. Understanding as an expression of an inward search for recognition
    5. Taking the Other for granted, as the anti theses to understanding
    6. Towards understanding as a process of receivement
    7. Helping the Other to get in touch with himself
    8. Outlining the scene for telling and being told
    9. Coping and enrichment as an ever expanding process
    10. Understanding, as a commitment to a methodological principle of ignorance
    11. Receivement metaphorically expanded to include text-reading
    12. “Dancing around the beer box” or aligning text with sense
    13. From explanation and interpretation to understanding one’s self – the promise of emancipation
    14. Narratives as a medium for case studies
    15. Is there really only one reality?
    16. Confirmability
  3. Interpretation, Explanation And Understanding
    1. Summing up
    2. The inner drives between the three approaches

Erik Maaloe

Born 1940. M of Sc in Operations Research and Management from Technological University of Denmark. Bachelor of Art in Philosophy of Social Science Methodology. Phd and later Dr Sci (dr merc) from The Aarhus School of Business.

Worked initially as operational analysts at NBRCP in Canada. Later employed at The Building Research Institute as operational analyst, future researcher and experimental psychologist of variation in architecture. – And as a part time teacher of epistemology at The Royal Academy of Denmark. After having received a research grant, a professor at Department of Organisation, The Aarhus School of Business, now Aarhus University. Here he through the years researched, published and taught on systems analysis, future and case research as well as organizational theory. - Guest lecturer and international speaker around the world.

Winner of a few research prices and has written a dozen books, incl The Employee Owner, Towards a Theory of Natural Architecture and hundreds of articles mainly in Danish.