After having worked in my particular text laboratory for over a year, I would argue that a variety of methodologies that were developed in social science research can be used in a text laboratory. Both quantitative as well as qualitative methodologies have their place. In this study, in this particular text laboratory, I used methodologies from case studies, Science and Technology Studies and techno-biographies and the text laboratory itself. This is an interdisciplinary study, using theory from different disciplines and using sources of different kinds. In the construction of the interdisciplinary and iterative process of designing the research by writing the text, and at the same time analysing what was written, the normative character of the research carried out here appeared to be of vital importance. Because this study has had a normative character from the beginning, the direction in which I wanted to develop new insights was clear. As I will argue in chapter 5, incommensurability between disciplines can be tackled when it is clear to what purpose such disciplines collaborate. The normative perspective I took determined the sequential questions that were asked, the analyses that were made and therefore also influenced the insights that emerged. Because this is an exploratory study such an approach was appropriate to use.note 17
Quantative and qualitive in normative perspective
Using the text as the laboratory one does need to find cues for validity though. While writing I have focused on creating inner validity by ensuring that patterns were matched, that explanations and explorations were confronted with each other, and by focusing on building an ultimately logical argument. I have also constructed validity by using multiple sources, and key informants have commented on the case study reports. Nevertheless, there is a flow of thinking, a stream of consciousness, a chain of moments of serendipity, which defines what I finally discovered.