"In the intellectual condition
of the social sciences today, there is so much to do by way of initial
'structuring' (let the word stand for the kind of work I am describing)
that much 'empirical research' is bound to be thin and uninteresting.
Much of it, in fact, is a formal exercise for beginning students, and sometimes
a useful pursuit for those who are not able to handle the more difficult
substantive problems of social science. There is no more virtue in empirical
inquiry as such than in reading as such. The purpose of empirical inquiry
is to settle disagreements and doubts about facts, and thus to make arguments
more fruitful by basing all sides more substantively. Facts discipline
reason; but reason is the advance guard in any field of learning" (The
Sociological Imagination, 1959, p. 205).