Methods of Social Research...

Scientist in any area of study must begin somewhere in their thinking and resultant research - they must have some direction or guideline to follow. For a start, they adopt some frame of reference and method of study, and assume these to be valid. These underlying starting points are the assumptions or presuppositions of the discipline that provide the basis of unity among its adherent, and upon which the subject is built.

The study of presuppositions is valuable in any discipline. Apart from anything else, it is an honest way to begin; it keeps findings from being viewed as a priori, institutional, or startlingly revealed. The presuppositions state that the scientist is taking a given point of view and that he will therefore have a limited view of the infinity of reality.

Second, the study of presuppositions is a structural way to begin the study of discipline. Just as a builder of a house begins by stretching strings over the bare ground to outline the dimensions of his project, so assumptions are the basic guidelines for the establishment of a discipline. Stones are hewn, boards cut, and walls raised within the limitations set by the builder's fragile string.

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