On building knowledge of social science, the dispute between quantitative and qualitative approach has been developed in the research methodology. When we consider social work as a part of studying human-beings and their welfare, the over emphasizing of quantitative study can make a critical distortion to view and treat clients who have cultural, ethnic, and spiritual diversity. Therefore, a boundary is needed to limit the quantitative study of social work to treat non pre-knowledge agencies such as human-beings and their activities. Specifically, it can be accepted to use a statistical method as a tool for measuring probable truth in terms of the effectiveness of a social work agency, the efficiency of a social welfare policy, and so forth because the subject of this case is not pre-knowledge but on the process of social construction built on knowledge modified by humans. Of course, Popper’s falsification on the principle of deduction should be considered as one of the strict efforts to find a critical outcome through minimizing the distortion of probable truth which would overemphasize the result. To the contrary, if human beings or their behavior is selected as a subject, researchers have to be careful to use a standardized tool, using a statistical method because the pre-knowledgeable subject is located in the upper level not enough to be measured by a formation. Instead, qualitative study will be more appropriate to understand the phenomena of human nature as well as the relations among human behaviors without an unintentional distortion. These efforts will reestablish social work study on substantial rationality to emancipate people from the restrictive and biased social arrangements.
|Keywords:||Social Science, Research Methodology, Quantitative Approach, Social Work, Pre-knowledge|
Professor, Department of Public Administration, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, South Korea