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Establishing truth from participation and distanciation in empirical theology

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the methodological opposition between qualitative and quantitative research in empirical theology. It argues the basis of Ricoeurs hermeneutical theory of the dialectic of participation and distanciation that a broad hermeneutical understanding of participation and distanciation implies that all research, whether quantitative or qualitative, is characterised by both participation and distanciation. The chapter describes that the dialectical tension between participation and distanciation should be maintained in all empirical research endeavours. This tension could be maintained by developing reflexivity in the threefold sense that Bourdieu uses the term: by reflecting on our own prejudices, by being part of scientific communities that help us to reflect on our prejudices, and by reflecting on our scientific practices themselves. This all forms part of learning the craft of research and developing a scientific habitus. The main point in this chapter is that there is no methodological royal road to truth.

Keywords: distanciation; empirical theology; participation; qualitative research; quantitative research; Ricoeurs hermeneutical theory; scientific habitus; truth



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