Before a researcher can initiate a research project, they face the confusion and the range of theoretical perspectives, methodologies, methods, and the philosophical basis that encompasses them all. This seemingly meticulous structure for the research process is in fact aimed toward providing the researcher with a ‘scaffolding’, or a direction which they can go on to develop themselves to coincide with their particular research purposes. (Crotty, 1998)
Once a researcher has developed a research question they are seeking to answer, they must consider what methodologies and methods they will employ in the research; what theoretical perspective lies behind the methodology; and what epistemology informs this theoretical perspective. (Crotty, 1998)
Before continuing it is important to explain these key terms:
Epistemology is ‘the branch of philosophy concerned with the theory of knowledge, which seeks to inform us how we can know the world.’ (Jary and Jary: Dictionary of Sociology, 1991) In the context of social research, epistemology is the form of proof one requires to justify a claim to knowledge about the social world. This will have a salient impact on the kind of data one can collect in order to validate their arguments concerning the social world (methodology), as well as the methods one considers in collecting valid data (methods). A researcher’s choice of methods will be conditioned by theoretical perspectives, the way one sees the social world. (Livesey)
Researchers of social science use a wide variety of research methods to gain and enhance knowledge and theory. The different types of research methodologies, quantitative and qualitative, are associated with the epistemological and theoretical perspectives the researcher wishes to adopt. This choice the researcher makes determines the way in which research should be conducted.
This paper will discuss, critically analyse and compare the epistemological and theoretical perspectives of two research methodologies used for social research: positivism and interpretivism. The various research methods used within the frameworks of each of these will then be discussed.
There are two main types of epistemologies: positivist and anti-positivist. “Positivist research is an approach which combines a deductive approach w...
... middle of paper ...
12. Love, T. (1998). Value Role in Computer-assisted Designing. Western Australia: Dept of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.
13. Neuman, L.W. (2000). Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Sydney: Allyn and Bacon.
14. Orlikowski, W. J. & Baroudi, J. J. (1991). Studying Information Technology in Organizations: Research Approaches and Assumptions. Information Systems Research, pg 1-28.
15. Pawson, R. & Tilley, N. (1997). Realistic Evaluation. London: Sage.
16. Sarantakos, S. (1998). Social Research. Melbourne: Macmillan.
17. Sharma, B.A.V., Ravindra Prasad, D. & Satyanarayana. (1984). Research Methods in Social Sciences. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers Private Ltd.
18. Silverman, D. (2000). Doing Qualitative Research. London: Sage.
19. Vrasidas, C. (2001). Interpretivism and Symbolic Interactionism: “Making the Familiar Strange and Interesting Again” in Educational Technology Research. In Heinecke, W. & Willis, J. (Ed.), Research Methods in Educational Technology. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing, Inc.
20. Wainwright, S. P. (2000). For Bourdieu in Realist Social Science. London.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- ... The courts held Palmer was not entitled to the inheritance, they decided that the application of rules was subject to general principles of law, the principle that no man should profit from his own wrong doing was implemented. Dworkin takes this as evidence that there is a distinction to be drawn between rules and principles. "Principles have a dimension that rules do not have... because rules do not have a dimension... they can be described as being 'functionally ' or un-functionally ' important".... [tags: Law, Legal positivism, Common law, Social sciences]
1539 words (4.4 pages)
- Introduction The current infrastructure of Air Force Reserve (AFR) medical unit offers various problems and possible solutions for research and study as we continue into the 21st century. However, research methodologies and the availability of information offers opportunities into understanding and gaining knowledge pertaining to leadership, management and the culture as it pertains to the organization. This paper will delve into the qualitative aspect of research methodology and the methods of literature reviews and surveys as tools for gather information, knowledge, cause and effect of hypotheses as they relate to leadership and organizational culture.... [tags: AFR, research, methodologies]
982 words (2.8 pages)
- ... Austin’s famous definition of sovereignty covers both of these meanings and is expressed in Lecture VI of his Lectures on Jurisprudence that ‘if a determinate human superior, not in a habit of obedience to a like superior, receive habitual obedience from the bulk of a given society, that determinate superior is sovereign in that society, and the society (including the superior) is a society political and independent’ . In his own words, Austin states that ‘Every positive law… is set, directly or circuitously, by a sovereign individual or body, to a member or members of the independent political society wherein its author is supreme’.... [tags: Law, Jurisprudence, Legal positivism, Sovereignty]
1254 words (3.6 pages)
- Abstract—This article reviews some strategy formulation methodologies that are elaborated to achieve organisation's goals and objectives. Key words— Strategy, Strategy Formulation, Top- down Methodology, Bottom- up Methodology, Porter Five Force. I. INTRODUCTION TO STRATEGY AND STRATEGIC PLANNING A 2007 survey of European and American firms reported that more than ninety-five per cent have employed a strategic planning process. According to this survey, strategic planning is a very important approach which is designed to create an efficient timely framework.... [tags: Stragety Formulation, Informative]
2727 words (7.8 pages)
- Feminism is a perspective not a research method, meaning there are multiple ways to approach the study of women (Reinharz, 1992). However, a central goal of feminist empiricism, standpoint epistemology, and post-modernism methodologies is that women's lives are important and must understand women from their perspective and in context (O’Donnell, 1985, in Reinharz, 1992). Feminist methodologies all share a dedication to move the focus from the masculine perspective to incorporating both men and women to advance knowledge (DeVault, 1996).... [tags: Gender Studies]
2401 words (6.9 pages)
- Substance abuse is a grim issue that affects the Canadian inmate population; it can be defined as overindulgence in or dependence on an addictive substance, especially alcohol or drugs. Within Canada, 80% of offenders entering the federal prison system are identified as having a substance abuse problem (MacPherson, 2004); this goes beyond mere indication of tougher drug legislation, it uncovers further discrepancy. Due to the immense majority of offenders affected by this complex mental illness, in addition to varied levels of individual cognitive ability.... [tags: Substance Abuse]
2044 words (5.8 pages)
- Positivism is a trend in bourgeois philosophy, which acknowledges the orthodoxy towards empirical knowledge of natural phenomena where metaphysics and theology are regarded as inadequate and imperfect systems of knowledge. Positivism, began to rise as the main intellectual movement during the second half of the 19th century in response to the inability of speculative philosophy, witch was indeed Romanticism. During the first half of 19th century, the Romanticism brought new views that helped the civilization of that time reach a higher level but it also brought the negative side effects.... [tags: essays research papers]
678 words (1.9 pages)
- Software methodologies have evolved over the last 50 years and this paper discusses the various methodologies and their use for process control of software projects. This comparison will cover the names of the different types and the key functional changes that have taken place from one type to the next and why they were developed. The strengths and weaknesses associated with each type of methodology. Why use one form of methodology over the other and under what circumstances. The different phases and characteristics of each methodology as compared to each other and the evolution of thought surrounding these conceptual changes and need for faster deployment which has led to new versions of a... [tags: Computing]
2057 words (5.9 pages)
- Introduction The most probably used research method is a survey. The production of knowledge depends on the methodologies used for collecting, storing and analyzing dataset and one of these techniques is survey. A survey is an investigation of one or more characteristics of a population. Most often, surveys are carried out on people by asking them questions. The most common types of surveys are done by interview, mail, or telephone. A survey is a means of gathering information about the characteristics, actions, or opinions of a large group of people, referred to as a population (Tanur, 1982).... [tags: Research Analysis ]
2807 words (8 pages)
- Positivism Positivism is a scientific approach to sociology (the science of society As Keat and Urry ('social theory as science', 1975) note: 'Positivism is concerned only with observable phenomena. It involves establishing law-like relations between them through the careful accumulation of factual knowledge. This occurs by means of observation, experimentation, comparison and prediction.' The terms' sociology' and 'positive philosophy' (positivism) were both coined by Auguste Comte (the founder of Sociology), an educated philosopher, born on January 19th 1798 in Montpellier, France.... [tags: Papers]
981 words (2.8 pages)