Positivism has a double meaning. From the one side, it rather useful in order to understand physical processes in connection with the social world better and easier. Sometimes, the creative approach contributes to the investigation making it groundbreaking as a result. Therefore, the system of the logical and consistent methodology, organizational and technical procedures of the sociology science impact not only social phenomena and its processes but also physical sciences. From the other side, the positivism theory described by Baronov might cause misunderstanding of the nature and structure of the real scientific knowledge and the desire to reduce it only to the empirical knowledge (“Embryonic Positivism” 12). Moreover, it might lead to the insufficiently informed decisions as people cannot investigate physical sciences only the social world.
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Speaking of positivism, it seems necessary to mention The Effect of Country Music on Suicide research. Stack and Gundlach compared the frequency performance of country music on the radio in different cities with suicide rates in them and revealed a high correlation (215). Then they found out how to apply the statistic methods and if the correlation disappears in the case when all the possible factors such as the divorce rates, the average income of the population, the level of alcohol consumption, the availability of firearms, and the ratio between Whites and Afro-Americans are considered. It revealed that the correlation remains even after taking into account all these factors, thus, it is potential suicides who like country music. However, the trend applies only to White people.
Idea of “subjectivity”
By the idea of “subjectivity”, Baronov means the role of self-understanding of the subject (in other words, of a person) and coincidence with the interpretation of his existence (“Hermeneutics” 113). The main purpose of understanding is moving into someone else’s subjectivity. Indeed, it is impossible to understand the other one without feeling yourself in his or her place. It is important in hermeneutics as it is the so-called hermeneutic circle that establishes the link between generations and continuity (moving into someone else’s subjectivity). However, subjectivity is the main distinction between human beings and inanimate concepts. Therefore, it might include emotions, words, and expressions of human activity. There is a difference between “explanation” and “understanding”. First, understanding begins with a preliminary clarification of some integer (pre-understanding); secondly, the parts treated in the relationship and interaction with an integer (understanding the disclosed dialectic interaction of parts as a whole). The goal of social research in the hermeneutic perspective is to understand the meaning of the world around us interpreting its various concepts and events.
Sometimes, researchers’ bias (or it is also usually called research gap) can actually be a good thing as it might lead to a further deeper investigation of the issue, states Dupuis (53). In addition, a bias creates the opponent group that could argue the research and opens some new phenomena as a result. In that case, the bias is considered helpful. Dupuis claims that when scholars adhere positivism approach doing qualitative research, it is a problem because it might threaten the quality of work distancing and detach from the core issue.
“Embryonic Positivism.” Conceptual Foundations of Social Research Methods. Ed. Baronov David. Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2004. 11-32. Print.
“Hermeneutics.” Conceptual Foundations of Social Research Methods. Ed. Baronov David. Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2004. 111-136. Print.
Stack, Steven, and Jim Gundlach. “The Effect of Country Music on Suicide.” Social Forces 71.1 (1992): 211-218. Print.