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Positivist & Interpretivist perspectives on research. A few methods if we have time

Positivist & Interpretivist perspectives on research. A few methods if we have time

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    Positivist & Interpretivist Positivist & Interpretivist Presentation Transcript

    • Philosophies of SocialResearchPositivist & Interpretivist Approaches &Methodologies
    • Conceptions of SocialReality
    • OntologyIs reality objective? External & independent of individuals?Is reality subjective? Constructed by individuals
    • OntologyWhat is Social Reality?
    • EpistemologyHow do we know what we know?What is knowledge?How do we gain it?How do we communicate it?
    • ComparingEpistemologies Knowledge isKnowledge is objective subjectiveHard data Meaning has actionCan be measured Relies on interpretationNatural and social Social world differentworld are the same to natural world
    • EpistemologyHow we know what we know
    • Positivism
    • Key FeaturesScientificObjectiveRobustInvolves identifying causesTests hypothesesUses the methods of the natural sciences
    • AugusteComteFather of Sociology
    • Anti/Post PositivismInterpretivism
    • Key FeaturesSocial Action (can be anything, even inaction) hasmeaningThe researcher’s job is to interpret social actionVerstehen
    • Max WeberKnown to his parents asKarl Emile MaximilianWeber
    • Examples of Approaches
    • Positivist - ScientificExternal reality - need to collect ‘facts’Methods of natural sciencesUse of statistics (quantitative)Experiments, surveys
    • EmileDurkheimSocial FactsSuicide
    • SuicideEstablish suicide as a social factSuicide rate not explained by individual actsRates remained (relatively) stableSocial causes
    • Interpretivist - SocialScientificSubjective, constructed realityRelative truthsNeed to explore, explain and understand realityQualitative
    • SuicideInterpretivist perspectives
    • Interpretivists &Social ConstructionJack Douglas:Need to interpretmeanings given to the Maxwell Atkinson:action of suicide Problem of statisticsNotes, diaries, Coroner and cluesinterviewsCultural context
    • Methodologies
    • ExperimentControlled conditionsManipulation ofvariable on another
    • SurveyCollection of dataMeasure of a socialphenomenonDescription ofgroup/populationTesting theories
    • EthnographyDescription of peopleand their culturesDetailed accounts ofeveryday lifeUnderstanding of howpeople see their world
    • PhenomenologyUnderstanding of the human experienceSubjective meaningsAttitudes and beliefs
    • Methods of DataCollectionQuestionnairesInterviewsObservationDocuments