Metrology in the early days of Social Sciences


  • Clara Monteiro Vieira Postgraduate Programme in Metrology, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Elisabeth Costa Monteiro Postgraduate Programme in Metrology, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro



metrology, Social Science and Humanities, Émile Durkheim, Max Weber


Recent studies have been endeavoring to overcome challenges to ensure reliable measurement results in Social Sciences and Humanities facing the complex characteristics of this scientific field. However, the literature indicates that the founding designers of sociology as an academic discipline expressed concerns regarding social measurements more than a century ago. Based on a literature review, the present work investigates possible metrological aspects already addressed in the early days of Social Science, focusing on the methodological conceptions of two of sociology’s early canons – notably Max Weber and Emile Durkheim. The present study reveals that the approaches contemporaneously developed by the two Social Sciences co-founders present diverse but fundamentally complementary configurations, allowing a wide range of social phenomena to be analyzable. Although employing their terminologies, both social scientists incorporated fundamental metrological concepts in their procedures’ parameters, seeking to establish a single reference, using statistical analysis or determining measurement standards that resemble what is known today as reference material. The concern with applying metrological concepts since the early days of creating sociology as a science reinforces the need to invest extensive efforts to provide uniformity of measurements in this remarkably relevant field of application of Measurement Science.






Research Papers