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