Ex-ante Hypothesen in der qualitativen Sozialforschung: zwischen "fehl am Platz" und "unverzichtbar"'
Zeitschrift für Soziologie 26,1.1997:22-34
##Hypotheses in qualitative social research: "out of place" or "indispensable'?
The use of hypotheses in social research is controversial. While quantitative methodology considers them crucial for theory-oriented research, qualitative methodologists reject them because of the danger of imposing preset theoretical meaning on an area of investigation. With this fundamental rejection - which may be explained historically - qualitative methodology blocks itself in the systematic critical analysis of the preconceptions which precede all research (and runs the risk of losing contact with epistemological discussion). Furthermore, undesirable consequences emerge in the development of the qualitative position. The article pleads for the use of hypotheses in qualitative social research, taking into account the goal of not presupposing the meaning of the actor as well as the necessity of a systematic inclusion of the researcher's knowledge. This position suits the theoretical and methodological foundations of interpretative sociology even better than does a general rejection of hypotheses, and it meets the prerequisites of practical research.##
Keywords: interpretative sociology, hypotheses, social research, qualitative research, epistemology, quantitative methodology