In this section, I draw together some files that are located in the more substantive areas (like education or media effects). I want to use them here to focus on quantitative methods in social sciences, especially on the logic of using quantitative data. Whatever you might think about using quantitative measurements (and, God knows, I am as sceptical as any of my generation), I think you do have to admire the ingenuity that goes into them. The researchers involved have tried to pin down, operationalise and then devise tests to measure the factors that they thought important, and this is really a welcome change from so much of the vacuous opinion that so often passes for comment in controversial areas. Of course, there are many assumptions involved in the use of quantitative measures -- but at least these are upfront where you can see them!
Blimey, you don't think I
be turning into a 'positivist' do you?