The strengthening birth pangs of nineteenth-century positivism signaled the first systematic effort to adapt those research methods originally developed for the physical sciences to the study of society. While conceding certain basic differences, the excited enthusiasts of the emerging positivist era were adamant that the methods perfected for the study of the physical world provided equally powerful tools for the study of the social world. The rationale for this was straightforward. The most advanced and sophisticated research methods of the day had been developed and had proven their worth in the physical sciences. It was therefore only logical that the study of human society should begin with the most potent techniques of investigation available.