A Procedural Methodology

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 14:30
Oral Presentation
Stephan LORENZ, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany
Thinking in relations and processes means not to have ultimate points of reference or a solid foundation for tightly anchoring knowledge. How can empirical research prove its findings within such a fluidity and indeterminacy? The answer is similar to other fields of modern society such as positive law or democratic politics. There are procedures that are used to find political decisions or legal judgement. In research, we call such procedures methods, of course. Thus, the basic idea of any kind of method is being a procedure. What I call a ‘procedural methodology’, therefore, means to reflect on methods as procedures. What are the basic characteristics of procedures? How do they actually proceed in general? What are necessary steps in any kind of procedure? And how can the results be justified? Procedures are structures and have a structuring effect. They need to be open for indeterminacy but have to be able to come to results, too. While they have to provide guidance, they must not determine specific outcomes. The paper will present a general model of procedures. This includes the four most important tasks of procedures (openness, negotiation/ selection, determination, re-opening/ reflexive learning). One of the advantages of procedures is the chance to re-open them again and again. This is essential because relational and processual thinking does not allow ultimate outcomes. A procedural methodology also lays the foundations for a reconstructive methodology. This offers critical potential because it enables consideration of the observance or non-observance of the necessary procedural steps, e.g. are there processes hindered or incomplete; are there relations excluded from consideration? A procedural methodology provides an integrative framework for methods and research approaches within the relational-processual paradigm. Main theoretical references for this conception are drawn from Habermas, Latour, Luhmann and pragmatism.