Hidden Concepts


The data we “gather” in science are already preconceptualized. We may have “sensations” without concepts, but we have no perceptions without concepts. Social scientists who treat “data” literally as “given things” (often those who feel most confident about the objectivity of their knowledge and the “hardness” of their facts) therefore take on board and reproduce the interpretation implicit in the data: they think with these hidden concepts but not about them.


– Andrew Sayer. (1992) Method in Social Science: a Realist Approach. Routledge.





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