Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-20, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 19 December, 2019 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2020.


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core definition

Sensationalism asserts that sensations are the ultimate and real components of the world.

explanatory context

Sensations should not be regarded as signs for anything else other than themselves. Anything knowable can be discovered through sensory experience. Sensations are logically prior to objects, which are constructed out of sensations (although objects cannot be reduced to sensations).


Scientific analysis is based on the premise that people experience similar senataions and thus inferences can be made about similarities in behaviour of objects and people. There is, therefore, no real distinction between different branches of science as all 'facts' are nothing but relations between observable sensations.

Sensationalism has been attacked by materialists as a form of subjective idealism. The major exposition of sensationalism occurs in Machian positivism.

analytical review

associated issues


related areas

See also



copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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