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Normativity and Empirical Research in Pra Ctical Theology

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In research, normativity is 'unavoidable' because when a particular problem (or facets of a problem) is chosen and the decision for a concrete project is made, other problems (or facets) are excluded. Furthermore, unavoidable normative goals are connected to every research project. It can also be a matter of direct goals which relate to an immediate purpose or of indirect goals which refer to the indirect purpose of a research project. In the end, normativity is in fact unavoidable in the testing of hypotheses because no methodology exists to regulate the research process internally. In this contribution, normativity in the research process is prominent and is, more precisely, directed towards empirical research in the discipline of theology known as "Practical Theology" (PTh). First, it will be shown that normativity is already connected with the goal of PTh i.e. the development of descriptive object/subject theories (theories about practice). Second, it will be set forth that normativity is also unavoidable in empirical methodology. In the three following sections, how normativity plays a role in the context of discovery, the context of justification, and the context of application will be put in concrete terms. Normativity in empirical practical theological research is discursive normativity.


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