Methods In Futures Studies: Problems And Applications

1st Edition

Brita Schwarz

Published June 7, 2019
Reference - 188 Pages
ISBN 9780367020101 - CAT# K403700

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The frequent appearance during the past decade of a variety of futures studies has raised a number of philosophical and methodological issues, as well as criticism of specific approaches. Is it in fact possible to study the future at all? How useful or scientific are the methods commonly used? Addressing these and similar questions, the authors of this book present three examples of futures research conducted at the national level of policy and decision making in Sweden, The examples illustrate the problems of applying knowledge during the course of a futures research project, the ways in which different methodologies interact, and various means of combining and adapting methodological tools and techniques. On the basis of comparisons of the studies, the authors discuss more general issues, including the role of prediction in futures studies, the discipline's impact on policy making, the usefulness of formal models and scenarios, and the problems of establishing research criteria. Although the authors emphasize that it is impossible to specify, much less prescribe, unique solutions to many methodological problems, they suggest guidelines for the conduct of futures studies, stressing that the value of any method depends on a particular project's organizational and policy-making framework and its objectives. The book includes a concise overview of the characteristics and dimensions of futures studies and the methods and analytical techniques available.

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