Does epistemology offer specific methodological rules?
I often see questions like does semi-structured interview matches with realism or this type of coding matches with criticism etc. I often see researchers trying to match their methodological approaches with epistemological perspectives like mixed-methods with pragmatism.
But epistemology is philosophy. Most of the epistemological writings refer to methodology in a very broad way. They discuss about what is scientific and what is not, about what is scientific method and what is not. There are different perspectives equally accepted as philosophies from “the scientific method is the one used in natural sciences” to “everything goes”.
I think we need epistemology in deciding if social research methodology is scientific or not, in making scientific every of its steps (like applying deductive and inductive logic, like making our hypotheses falsifiable etc.) and not as justification for employing one or other of the research methods and techniques or for combining them in a way or another.
I think epistemology does not offer specific methodological rules and that the problem is, for example, not if interpretivism is a justification for doing qualitative research but in what way is the qualitative research scientific and how to make it “more” scientific in order to maintain the attribute of science to sociology and to other social disciplines that employ this kind of research.