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Response 1: Scientific Method in Social Policy Research Is Not a Lost Cause

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 July 2010

School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT email:


In ‘Generalisation and phronesis’, Paul Spicker argues that the methodology of empirical research in social policy would be improved by drawing on Aristotle's concept of phronesis (φρόνησις) – which is generally translated as practical wisdom or prudence. He argues against versions of generalisation that rely on cause-and-effect, whether through deductive or inductive means. He maintains, however, that social policy research must still aim at making generalisations, for which he recommends the application of phronesis.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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