Abstract

Qualitative methods, like participant observation and semi- and unstructured interviews, are extensively employed within the social sciences and the humanities. In this paper, I discuss the role of values in qualitative data collection. First I consider the ideal of value free science. I argue that the ideal, as applied to qualitative data collection, should be rejected because nonepistemic values have both required and permissible roles to play during this phase of research. Second, I examine two alternative ideals for values in science. By appeal to my earlier analysis, I show that neither of them is fitting as an ideal for values in qualitative data collection. Thus I conclude that an ideal for values in qualitative data collection is lacking while also indicating what steps should be taken in order to develop such an ideal.


Julie Zahle
Julie Zahle

Julie Zahle (University of Copenhagen)

From Julie Zahle's website: "My main area of research is the philosophy of the social sciences and the humanities. In particular, I work on the following topics: values in science, the individualism/holism debate, qualitative methods, research ethics, social theories of practice, and the role of science in society."