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Article

Методологический вызов. Где границы применимости методов? Каковы критерии их эффективности?

Ильин М. В., Фомин И. В., Авдонин В. С.

A neat split-up of methods into qualitative and quantitative ‘boxes’ works with just a bunch of elementary and time-tested research devices. It would not easily apply such a division to multiplying cases of new designs for productive investigations. Often they are compound research capacities. A new and trendy ‘box’ termed mixed methods is ready at hand. However, compound structures are not just amalgamations. Their effectiveness rests on structural propensities and not on amassing of their initial components. Furthermore, steadily multiplying new research principles rest on neither quantity nor quality but on something transcending the quality – quantity dichotomy, e.g. Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) or Lijphartian analysis of patterns of democratic rule. Methodological domains can diverge or converge. They can dispose of all ‘deceitful’ aberrations and shrink to a single ‘authentic’ set of algorithms (methodological monism or in its radical display methodological rigorism). They can also entangle alternative research capacities (methodological liberalism or pluralism). The authors would explicate their methodological stance as ‘democratic’. This is more than just a pompous political analogy. Modern democracy converges all sorts of rule to make them good enough for accountable and inclusive governance. Likewise, advanced methods of our age merge any kinds of exploratory faculties to make them good enough for valid and comprehensive investigation. Just as modern democratic practices and conventions have been emerging only recently, current multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary methods still evolve as trial aptitudes for making research far-reaching and reliable enough. Both modern democracy and transdisciplinary are more of a promise rather than long established paragons. The authors perceive the entire methodological realm as shaped into three overlapping but still very distinct major methodological domains – mathematical, morphological and semiotic organons of learning and research. They coalesce around fundamental and abiding principles. Their mundane and transient apparitions are grand methodological approaches and paradigms not say nothing about claims and technical devices of specific schools of thought and research. Mathematical organon integrates a relatively comprehensive domain. Morphological and semiotic ones only crudely amalgamate assortments of areas, branches and endeavors of research that are still at variance with each other. The task is to overcome residual discrepancies and to advance integrating principles of general or ‘pure’ semiotics (Morris) and morphology. The principles of organons derive from our basic sensoria and other primary cognitive abilities. Some originate in our sense of order, measure and quantity to produce mathematical organon. Others commence with our perception of forms, shapes and configurations to yield a would-be morphological organon. Further ones amplify our faculty to re-create and discover meanings in our intercourse with the world and each other to commence a budding semiotic organon. Immanuel Kant, Charles Sanders Pierce and other great minds provide guidelines for trichotomous structure of organons. It is tempting to proclaim analogy between the trichotomous structure of organons and current vague distinction of quantitative, qualitative and ‘mixed’ clusters of methods. One has to explore the analogy. Correlations between configurational comparative studies and morphology or between qualitative studies and semiotics are still problematic. Furthermore, it would be premature to expect a quick integration of entire domains of morphology or semiotics. It is pragmatic to work for integration of selected focal core areas. Possible options are reshaping of neo-institutional paradigms into morphological ones, integration of biological and linguistic morphologies as well as further advancement of biosemiotics and biopolitics.