Theoretical orientation and validity of observation in sociology and anthropology


  • Vladimir Ilić Faculty of Philosophy University of Belgrade



observation, validity, qualitative and quantitative orientation, analytical induction


This article discusses closely related issues of the theoretical orientation and the validity of the application of the method of observation in sociology and anthropology. It was preceded by a text which discussed issues of meeting the principles of objectivity, systematicity and reliability when using observation as a research method. General problem of the relationship between theory and research in the application of observation will be analyzed in the subsequent article.

Introductory section shows the general framework of a hypothetical - deductive conception of science and the role of the method of observation in this context. The next section of the article analyzes the effort of finding denying cases and discusses the limits of the method of analytical induction. This section deals with the influence of data analysis in qualitative form obtained by (usually participatory) observation and constructing explanations on the validity of the observation. The next section of the article shows the possibility of increasing the validity of the observation by including other sources and methods of data collection. The final section shows the impact of over-emphasizing the epistemological difference between qualitative and quantitative orientation in sociology and anthropology on the possibility of increasing the validity of the observation as a research method.


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How to Cite

Ilić, Vladimir. 2014. “Theoretical Orientation and Validity of Observation in Sociology and Anthropology”. Etnoantropološki Problemi / Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 9 (2):289-308.