Positivist & Interpretivist approaches

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Positivist & Interpretivist approaches

  1. 1. Philosophies of Social Research Positivist & Interpretivist Approaches & Methodologies
  2. 2. Conceptions of Social Reality
  3. 3. Ontology Is reality objective? External & independent of individuals? Is reality subjective? Constructed by individuals
  4. 4. Ontology What is Social Reality?
  5. 5. Epistemology How do we know what we know? What is knowledge? How do we gain it? How do we communicate it?
  6. 6. Comparing Epistemologies Knowledge is subjective Meaning has action Relies on interpretation Social world different to natural world Knowledge is objective Hard data Can be measured Natural and social world are the same
  7. 7. Epistemology How we know what we know
  8. 8. Positivism
  9. 9. Key Features Scientific Objective Robust Involves identifying causes Tests hypotheses Uses the methods of the natural sciences
  10. 10. Auguste Comte Father of Sociology
  11. 11. Anti/Post Positivism Interpretivism
  12. 12. Key Features Social Action (can be anything, even inaction) has meaning The researcher’s job is to interpret social action Verstehen
  13. 13. Max Weber Known to his parents as Karl Emile Maximilian Weber
  14. 14. Examples of Approaches
  15. 15. Positivist - Scientific External reality - need to collect ‘facts’ Methods of natural sciences Use of statistics (quantitative) Experiments, surveys
  16. 16. Emile Durkheim Social Facts Suicide
  17. 17. Suicide Establish suicide as a social fact Suicide rate not explained by individual acts Rates remained (relatively) stable Social causes
  18. 18. Interpretivist - Social Scientific Subjective, constructed reality Relative truths Need to explore, explain and understand reality Qualitative
  19. 19. Suicide Interpretivist perspectives
  20. 20. Interpretivists & Social Construction Jack Douglas: Need to interpret meanings given to the action of suicide Notes, diaries, interviews Cultural context Maxwell Atkinson: Problem of statistics Coroner and clues
  21. 21. Methodologies
  22. 22. Experiment Controlled conditions Manipulation of variable on another
  23. 23. Survey Collection of data Measure of a social phenomenon Description of group/ population Testing theories
  24. 24. Ethnography Description of people and their cultures Detailed accounts of everyday life Understanding of how people see their world
  25. 25. Phenomenology Understanding of the human experience Subjective meanings Attitudes and beliefs
  26. 26. Methods of Data Collection Questionnaires Interviews Observation Documents

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