Complexiteitsdenken en kwalitatief onderzoek | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1385-1535
  • E-ISSN: 1875-7324


Complexity thinking and qualitative research

Complexity thinking and qualitative research

In this article complexity thinking (or complex thought) is conceived of as a generalization of complexity theory, which was developed at the Santa Fe Institute. Especially Edgar Morin and Paul Cilliers have contributed to the idea of generalized complexity. Within this approach all living and social systems are complex systems: adaptive, dynamic, consisting of emergent features and being able to self-organization, in an almost unpredictable way. Methodological pluralism is a consequence of this type of thinking. Thus, mixed methods are preferred. However, qualitative methodology can already be seen as a striving for complex thought. This concerns its anti-reductionism as well as its anti-holism. In addition, ethical responsibility of empirical researchers is emphasized.


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