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Regular version of the site

Article

Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches in FTA: From Combination to Integration?

Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 2013. No. 80. P. 386-397.
Haegeman K., Marinelli E., Scapolo F., Ricci A.

The FTA community relies on a set of disciplines and methods, which try to better understand

and shape the future from different methodological perspectives. Whilst the community has

grown since the first edition of the International Seville Conference on Future-oriented

Technology Analysis (FTA), there is still little dialogue and exchange between those applying

quantitative and those applying qualitative methods.

The FTA events have, since the beginning, provided an avenue to debate methodological

aspects and this paper summarises and furthers the discussion developed during the 2011

edition, building on the debates at the conference and between members of the conference

Scientific Committee, to which the authors of this paper belong. In particular this paper

describes the methodological state of the field through a tripartite taxonomy of increasing

levels of qualitative and quantitative integration. It shows how significant progress has been

made for simpler forms of combinations but not for more sophisticated (and perhaps more

promising) ones. Following that, it suggests that an epistemological divide, common to the

social sciences as a whole, combined with cultural differences and misconceptions within the

FTA community are amongst the factors undermining further methodological integration. The

paper concludes by suggesting some steps, combining research and practice, to overcome such

barriers.