Empirics as Comparisons


  • Mike Metcalfe University of South Australia




comparison, empirics, research quality


As part of the FQS Debates on quality, LAUCKEN discusses "comparisons". This paper picks up on this topic with a particular focus on the empirical evidence presented in support of a knowledge claim. By "empirics" is meant evidence collected through someone's senses. It is believed that thinking about empirics in terms of "comparisons" provides common ground in the quality/validity debate between epistemologies. Therefore, the argument of this paper is that empirical evidence quality can be usefully thought of in terms of "comparisons" rather than the traditional epistemological grounds such as independence, measurement, repeatability or the identification of the conceptual frame. After discussing "comparison" as part of human thought, this paper will suggest how it can be used to design a range of empirical gathering practice. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0501270


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Author Biography

Mike Metcalfe, University of South Australia

Mike METCALFE is an associate research professor at the University of South Australia, where his main duties are as PhD thesis adviser. His own PhD is from Adelaide University, on group problem solving. He has published 5 books and over 50 lead-author refereed academic articles on different aspects of perspectival systems thinking and argumentative inquiry in journals that include Systems Research and Behavioral Science, IT & People, Informal Logic and the European Journal of Information Systems. He has lived in over 6 countries including 17 years in Australasia, and has worked in the merchant navy, the army reserves, system design, university lecturing and consulting, including a term as advisor to the Deputy Premier and Treasurer of South Australia.




How to Cite

Metcalfe, M. (2005). Empirics as Comparisons. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-6.1.524



FQS Debate: Quality of Qualitative Research