According to Blaike Norman in his book the ‘Approaches to social enquiry’, there are about ten research paradigms that have been classified into classical and contemporary research paradigms. The classical research paradigms are; Positivism, Critical Rationalism, Classical Hermeneutics, and Interpretivism. The question that these research paradigms seek to answer is if the methods of natural science can be applied to the social sciences? Positivism as a classical research paradigm invented in 1970 by Sociologist Comte identified that positivism was based on the thesis of naturalism and was characterized by phenomenalism (uniqueness of experience that relies on scientific knowledge), nominalism (asserts that notions on which observation cannot be done have no existence unless it is a name), atomism (object of experience is discrete and independent) general laws (avers that scientific theories are a bunch of law-like statements), value judgments and normative statements (facts and values must be separated; value judgment has no pragmatic content of validity, verification (how to settle the truth or falsity of the scientific statement), and the last characteristic is causation which asserts that there is no causation in nature; only constant coincidences. Thus in summary, positivism approves that methods of natural science can be utiliz...
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...ocial structure that constrain their actions. The paradigm has the capability of a multifaceted analysis at both macro and micro levels. Contemporary Hermeneutics propounded on by Rorty McDowell, hermeneutics seeks to establish a new ground that is free of relativism and skepticism. It fundamentally seeks to perceive the moving horizon engaged in a strand of dialogue of all human though. Social Realism incorporates the regulation and stability of social theories against radical changes. In trying to explain the human affairs, the theory becomes pragmatic and relies on positivism (applies models and methods from the natural science to social affair); its belief is that relationships can be identified and measured using science. (Blaike 2007 pp 134-177)
Blaike Norman. Approaches to Social Enquiry: advancing knowledge. USA: Polity Press, 2007, 2nd Ed.
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