The Method Center was founded in 2018, as a new institute of the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences. It pursues three central goals: First, it combines the expertise that exists in the field of empirical research methods within the social, economic and behavioral science institutions. At the same time, a platform is created that promotes professional understanding across disciplinary as well as methodological boundaries. In this way, the prerequisites are created for giving important impulses to the development of new methodological approaches.
The foundation of this institution is a reaction to problematic developments that can be observed, for example, within philosophy or the social sciences: Increasingly, the discussion is broken off, split up and withdrawn into discourses that are conducted separately from one another. As important as the specialization and cultivation of different approaches are, the open and passionate debate about the different ways of striving for knowledge becomes difficult under these conditions. This is especially true when these splits and separations take on an institutional form (e.g. in competing professional societies).
It is often conflicting methodological understandings that form the starting point for such splits and polarizations. The Methods Center reacts to this fatal trend. It does not concentrate solely on the development of individual methods in terms of research practice and subject matter. It also provides a space for open argumentative exchange and understands multi-paradigmatics as an important means of generating cross-paradigm frictional surfaces and thus substantially promoting the development of inner-paradigmatic methods. In addition, it contributes to the increase of scientific reflexivity by making the above-mentioned developments in science policy, which powerfully shape and frame the striving for knowledge, its own object.
Thus, different approaches and different references to objects stand side by side within the Method Center. Accordingly, the research and teaching projects also aim to convey the methods of empirical research as social practices, which are situated in specific, historically grown scientific understandings and which are dependent on constantly questioning themselves self-critically. The institute's staff are united by their efforts to seek dialogue beyond existing differences and to make the tension between identity and difference, between proximity and distance, productive.