The Macro Turn of Quantitative Research in Contemporary Sociology

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No. 3, 2022


The Macro Turn of Quantitative Research in Contemporary Sociology



Chen Yunsong


Quantitative sociological research has long placed excessive reliance on survey data based on individual samples. This has shaped a “micro purport” in terms of field of vision, method, and theory that has weakened the ability of research to contribute to disciplinary development and social governance. In sociology, macro-quantitative analyses premised on holism have solid methodological foundations, data conditions, and multidimensional values. The shift from “micro purport” to “macro observation” has led to two models of research: space-time coverage based on saturated data and macro-quantitative sociology based on big data. The latter model covers specific research approaches such as structural discovery of massive amounts of text, network complexity research, macro-hypothesis tests, and multi-layered exploration of mechanisms. Since it is at the forefront of this shift, the development of contemporary Chinese macro-quantitative sociology has tremendous significance for expanding disciplinary boundaries and building a sociological discourse system with Chinese characteristics.