Papers of BAS, Humanities and Social Sciences

Vol. 1, No 1, 2014

SOCIOLOGY

BASIC METHODOLOGICAL PROBLEMS OF SOCIAL SURVEY RESEARCH

Svetlana Saykova

Abstract: The main thesis of the article is that there is a serious lag in the methodological basis of social survey (SS) research. This lag is with respect to: the grounding and choice of approaches and methods; the criteria for assessing the practical usefulness of the results; their frequently unclarified cognitive potential; the fragmentary way in which the goals and tasks of concrete SS are chosen; the definition of criteria for assessing the produced knowledge and its grounding, etc. There are clear indications that the connection between the empirical and theoretical level of sociological cognition is impaired. The risk this involves lies in the fact that this is not a case of simply (and understandablе) underdeveloped empirical knowledge – this is a dangerous trend in the development of SS and of sociological science as a whole. The situation is so serious that some authors see it as something more than “methodological problems”, and call it “methodological chaos” in social surveys.

Key words: methodological basis of social survey (SS) research; approaches and methods of social survey research; “methodological chaos” in social surveys; connection between the empirical and theoretical level of sociological cognition; lack of a survey object and of a fundamental body of theory and methodology in sociological science