The Art of Counting: the Impact of Postmodernity on Missions Statistics

  • Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary


This article is a modest attempt to trace a few important features of the shift from modern to postmodern thinking and how this impacts the discipline of counting. In particular, it draws on the work of philosopher Michael Polanyi, whose concept of personal knowing provides a middle way between positivism and relativism. A central concern for quantification is how notions of objectivity have changed over this period. The article contends that the mission researcher in the postmodern era can make claims related to data but those claims are generally more nuanced and less confident. Quantification continues to have a role in the scientific method but assumptions must be made explicit and should be placed in a broader continuum with qualitative research.
Feb 17, 2016
How to Cite
, . The Art of Counting: the Impact of Postmodernity on Missions Statistics. Glocal Conversations, [S.l.], v. 3, n. 1, feb. 2016. ISSN 2296-7176. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 25 june 2022.


postmodernism; quantification; research; missiology; Polanyi; relativism; scientific method

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