Association for Objective Hermeneutics
The Association for Objective Hermeneutics (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Objektive Hermeneutik, "AGOH") considers itself to be an association for the advancement of research science, in particular of hermeneutical social research according to the principles of Objective Hermeneutics ("OH"), a research methodology, which emerged during the 1970s in Germany.
In one of the rare translated English texts, in which this methodology has been presented and justified, its founders declared:
"Our approach has grown out of the empirical study of family interactions as well as reflection upon the procedures of interpretation employed in our research. For the time being we shall refer to it as objective hermeneutics in order to distinguish it clearly from traditional hermeneutic techniques and orientations. The general significance for sociological analysis of objective hermeneutics issues from the fact that, in the social sciences, interpretive methods constitute the fundamental procedures of measurement and of the generation of research data relevant to theory. From our perspective, the standard, nonhermeneutic methods of quantitative social research can only be justified because they permit a shortcut in generating data (and research "economy" comes about under specific conditions). Whereas the conventional methodological attitude in the social sciences justifies qualitative approaches as exploratory or preparatory activities, to be succeeded by standardized approaches and techniques as the actual scientific procedures (assuring precision, validity, and objectivity), we regard hermeneutic procedures as the basic method for gaining precise and valid knowledge in the social sciences. However, we do not simply reject alternative approaches dogmatically. They are in fact useful wherever the loss in precision and objectivity necessitated by the requirement of research economy can be condoned and tolerated in the light of prior hermeneutically elucidated research experiences." (Oevermann et al. 1987, German Original: Oevermann et al. 1979)
The Association was founded in Frankfurt am Main (Germany) on September 19, 1992, by scholars of various disciplines, in the humanities and in the social sciences. Its goal is to provide all scholars using this methodology with a means for steady and continual exchange and a platform spanning those disciplines in which the methodology is being used. The Association also seeks to diffuse the general principles of its methodological approach among colleagues.