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Research Paradigms. Research Seminar (1/2 of book complete with this PP). Research Paradigm. Defined as the understanding of what one can know about something & how one can gather knowledge about it 3 broad paradigms 1. Positivist 2. Post-Positivist 3. Interpretivist. Positivism.

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Research paradigms

Research Paradigms

Research Seminar

(1/2 of book complete with this PP)

Research paradigm
Research Paradigm

  • Defined as the understanding of what one can know about something & how one can gather knowledge about it

  • 3 broad paradigms

    1. Positivist

    2. Post-Positivist

    3. Interpretivist


  • Dominant research paradigm of the past century

  • Philosopher proponents include Aristotle, Francis Bacon, Rene Descartes, Auguste Comte, Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, John Stuart Mill, Emile Durkheim

  • Synonymous with empiricism, objectivism, scientific method, naturalist approach

Tenets of positivism
Tenets of Positivism

  • Realist, foundationalist epistemology

  • The world exists independently of our knowledge of it

  • There are patterns, regularities, cause & effect in social world just as there are in the natural world

  • Causal statements can be researched and made

  • Scientific method can be used to analyze the social world

  • The scientific method is neutral along with the researchers.

  • Emphasis is on explanation in social research so that predictions can be made

  • Observation and verification are key to the positivist paradigm

  • They seek objectivity in research

Tenets of positivism continued
Tenets of Positivism (continued)

  • Theories are used to generate hypotheses, which can be tested by direct observation.

  • There is no dichotomy between how things really are and what we see (they are the same)

  • The world is real and not mediated by our senses nor socially constructed

  • Positivism rejects question of values and words such as trust, honesty

Tenets of interpretivism
Tenets of Interpretivism

  • This paradigm is based on an anti-foundationalist epistemology

  • The world does not exist independently of our knowledge of it

  • The world is socially constructed through the interaction of individuals, so the separation of facts & value is not clear cut

  • The emphasis is on understanding

  • They do not rely on mere observation for understanding social phenomena

  • Social and natural sciences are distinct from one another and should have different methodologies

Interpretivism continued
Interpretivism (continued)

  • Social phenomena do not exist independently of our interpretation of them, and these interpretations affect outcomes

  • Researchers are part of the social reality being researched; cannot be detached from the subject they are studying

  • Objective, value-free analysis is impossible because knowledge is coming from a researcher with his/her personal opinions, attitudes, values

  • This paradigm is about interpretation of meaning

Post positivist paradigm also called critical realism
Post-Positivist Paradigm (also called Critical Realism)

  • This paradigm shares a foundationalist epistemology with positivism and interpretist view of research

  • Social sciences can use the same methods as natural science in order to explain, but it must provide an interpretive understanding

  • Post-positivists seek to explain and understand the social world

  • Social change and conflict in society are not always apparent or observable

  • Causation has nothing to do with the number of times we have observed it happening. It depends on identifying causal mechanisms & how they work and if the cause has been activated.

Post modernism influence
Post-Modernism Influence

  • Ontological position that view traditional knowledge with skepticism

  • It’s also called deconstructivism.

  • It reflects a decline of absolutes

  • The only truth is that there is no one truth

  • Relativist position

Feminist influence
Feminist Influence

  • Anti-foundationalist ontological position which challenges the male-centered nature of research in general

  • This approach does not believe in value-free or objective research

  • Feminists can use a post-modern approach