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An Empirical or a Normative Approa Ch To Practical-Theol o gIcal Research?

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The article tries to explain the notion that practical theology is normative, not despite but because of its empirical character, as follows. A condition for the claim that practical theology is a normative science is that the empirical research conducted in this discipline must not be positivist but should be seen as wholly theory-laden. For the normative orientation itself, with reference to one of the founders of empirical methodology, Karl Popper, the article is focussing more particularly on the goal and the application of the results of empirical research. However, the methodical and technical "linkage" between goal and results is no less normative, in practical theology as well. With special reference to the complementary relation between qualitative and quantitative methods, this point will be argue. This leads to a critical reflection on evaluation, which should be the culmination of every form of empirical research. A conclusion I reflect critically on the praxis concept in practical theology.


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