This article addresses the methodology of professional practice. As a counterpart to the 'predictive cycle' of generalizing or nomological science, a regulative cycle is proposed, which is directed towards the improvement of individual problem-situations with the help of low-level, problem-directed theories and is guided by norms and criteria of health, productivity, quality of life, and so on. Objections based on established empirical-analytical methodology are examined and it is shown that explicitly following the regulative model can contribute to a methodological 'disciplining' of practice without necessarily falling into a technocratic relationship with clients. Finally the role of 'paradigms of practice' is discussed, first at the level of professional practice, and then at the level of the paradigmatic problem-solving repertoires of our increasingly 'scientized' society.
- nomological theory
- professional practice