Research Paradigms


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Research Paradigms and Logic of Research: Implications for Research Design?

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Research Paradigms

  1. 1. Research Paradigms and Logic of Research: Implications for Research Design?The Classical Greek The Classical Greek philosopher Plato. philosopher Socrates By : Mr. Nagendra Bahadur Amatya Institute of engineering, Pulchowk campus, Nepal E-mail:
  2. 2. Presentation Outline (Part I) What is Research? What is Paradigm? Definition, Concept, the Paradigm Shift Main Components of a Paradigm: Ontology, Epistemology & Methodology Research Paradigms and Social Research: Three Main Paradigms
  3. 3. Presentation Outline (Part II) Paradigm Positions on Selected Practical Research Issues Logic of Inquiry: Research Strategies Quantitative/Qualitative Research: Salient Features; Mixed Methods? Research Process The Researcher as Bricoleur
  4. 4. What is research?• “A studious inquiry or examination, especially a critical investigation or experimentation having for its aim the discovery of new facts and their correct interpretation, the revision of accepted conclusions, theories, or laws in the light of new discovered facts or the practical application of such conclusions, theories or laws.”• “Diligent and systematic inquiry or investigation into a subject in order to discover facts or principles.”
  5. 5. What is a paradigm? A broad framework of perception, understanding, belief within which theories and practices operate. … a network of coherent ideas about the nature of the world and the functions of researchers which, adhered to by a group of researchers, conditions their thinking and underpins their research actions [Bassey, 1990: para 8.1] A basis for comprehension, for interpreting social reality [Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2000: 9]
  6. 6. What is a paradigm? (Continued) It pre-structures perceptions, conceptualisation & understanding Shifts in scientific theory require new paradigms [Science is] …a series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions … in which one conceptual world view is replaced by another. [Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2000: 396] Researchers from different disciplines [traditions?] may have different paradigms There are competing paradigms in education research
  7. 7. Synoptic View of PARADIGM ? a mental model a way of seeing a filter for ones perceptions a frame of reference a framework of thought or beliefs through which ones world or reality is interpreted an example used to define a phenomenon a commonly held belief among a group of people, such as scientists of a given discipline
  8. 8. Paradigm Shift In 1962, Thomas Kuhn wrote The Structure of Scientific Revolution, and fathered, defined and popularized the concept of "paradigm shift" (p.10). Kuhn argues that scientific advancement is not evolutionary, but rather is a "series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions", and in those revolutions "one conceptual world view is replaced by another". Think of a Paradigm Shift as a change from one way of thinking to another. Its a revolution, a transformation, a sort of metamorphosis. It just does not happen, but rather it is driven by agents of change.
  9. 9. Main Components of a Paradigm:(Ontology, Epistemology, Methodology)
  10. 10. Main Components of Paradigm ‘Epistemology – „The branch of philosophy concerned with the origin, nature, methods & limits of knowledge‟ Ontology – „concerned with being‟ or reality.
  11. 11. Ontology Ontology is the starting point of all research, after which one‟s epistemological and methodological positions logically follow. A dictionary definition of the term may describe it as the image of social reality upon which a theory is based
  12. 12. Ontology Norman Blaikie offers a fuller definition, suggesting that ontological claims are „claims and assumptions that are made about the nature of social reality, claims about what exists, what it looks like, what units make it up and how these units interact with each other. In short, ontological assumptions are concerned with what we believe constitutes social reality‟ (Blaikie, 2000, p. 8)
  13. 13. Epistemology Epistemology, one of the core branches of philosophy, is concerned with the theory of knowledge, especially in regard to its methods, validation and „the possible ways of gaining knowledge of social reality, whatever it is understood to be. In short, claims about how what is assumed to exist can be known‟ (Blaikie, 2000, p. 8).
  14. 14. Epistemology Derived from the Greek words episteme(knowledge) and logos (reason), epistemologyfocuses on the knowledge-gathering process andis concerned with developing new models ortheories that are better than competing modelsand theories.Knowledge, and the ways of discovering it, is notstatic, but forever changing. When reflecting ontheories, and concepts in general, researchersneed to reflect on the assumptions on which theyare based and where they originate from in thefirst place.
  15. 15. Ways of Knowing about the World: Inquiry Strategies•Authority (parents, state, boss, etc)•Religion (faith, belief, standard, morals, etc)•Tradition (we have always done that way, folkways, cultural patterns, we know how to behave in certain situation)•Intuition•Creativity•Science and scientific research
  16. 16. Research Methods and MethodologyMethodology refers to general principleswhich underline how we investigate thesocial world and how we demonstrate thatthe knowledge generated is valid.Research methods refers to the morepractical issues of choosing an appropriateresearch design – perhaps an experiment ora survey – to answer a research question,and then designing instruments to generatedata.
  17. 17. Research Paradigms and Social Research
  18. 18. Basic Beliefs (Metaphysics) of Alternative Inquiry ParadigmsItem Positivism Post Positivism Critical Theory, Constructivism et al (learning theory)Ontology Naïve realism— Critical realism— Historical Relativism—local “real” reality but “real” reality but realism—virtual and specific apprehend able only imperfectly reality shaped by constructed and probabilistically social, political, realities apprehend able cultural, economic, ethnic, and gender values; crystallized over timeEpistemology Dualist/ Modified dualist/ Transactional/ Transactional/ objectivist; objectivist; critical subjectivist; value- subjectivist; created findings true tradition/community; mediated findings findings findings probably trueMethodology Experimental/ Modified Dialogic/dialectical Hermeneutical/ manipulative; experimental/ dialectical verification of manipulative; critical hypotheses; multiplism; chiefly quantitative falsification of methods hypotheses; may methods include qualitative
  19. 19. Paradigm Positions on Selected Practical IssuesIssue Positivism Post Critical Constructivism Positivism Theory, et alNature of Verified hypotheses Non falsified Structural/historical Individualknowledge established as facts hypotheses insights reconstructions or laws that are coalescing around probable facts consensus or lawsInquiry aim explanation Prediction and Critique and Understanding; control transformation, reconstruction restitution and emancipationKnowledge Accretion – “building blocks” adding to Historical More informed andaccumulation “edifice of knowledge”; generalizations situatedness; sophisticated and cause-effect linkages generalization by reconstructions, similarity vicarious experienceGoodness or Conventional benchmarks of “rigor” Historical Trustworthinessquality criteria internal and external validity, reliability situatenedness; and and objectivity erosion of ignorance and authenticity misapprehensions, action stimulusValues Excluded – influence denied Included -- formative
  20. 20. Paradigm Positions on Selected Practical Issues (Continued)Issue Positivism Post Positivism Critical Theory, Constructivism et alEthics Extrinsic; tilt towards deception Intrinsic; tilt Intrinsic; towards moral process tilt elevation towards revelation; special problemsVoice “disinterested scientist” as “transformative “passionate informer of decision makers, intellectual” as participant” as policy makers, and change agents advocate and facilitator of activist multi-voice reconstructionTraining Technical and Technical; Re-socialization; qualitative and quantitative; quantitative and quantitative; history; values of substantive qualitative; altruism and empowerment theories substantive theoriesAccommodation Commensurable IncommensurableHegemony In control of publication, funding, Seeking recognition and input promotion, and tenure
  21. 21. Theoretical Perspective History Interpretivism Postmodern Post-Positivism ParticipatoryPositivism Pragmatism
  22. 22. Logic of Inquiry: ResearchStrategies
  23. 23. InductionThe Inductive approach to enquiry buildsgeneralizations out of observations of specificevents. It starts with singular or particularstatements and ends up with general or universalpropositions.It presupposes that explanations about theworkings of the world should be based on factsgained from pure, dispassionate and neutralobservation, rather than on preconceived notions;that nature will reveal itself to a passively receptivemind.
  24. 24. Induction (Continued)The Inductive strategy assumes that all science starts withobservations which provide a secure basis from whichknowledge can be derived and claims that reality impingesdirectly on the senses, hence there is a correspondencebetween sensory experiences, albeit extended byinstrumentation, and the objects of those experiences. Theconclusion of an inductive argument makes claims thatexceed what is contained in the premises and so promisesto extend knowledge by going beyond actual experience.The more observations that demonstrate, say, arelationship between phenomena, the higher the probabilitythat the general statement is true. Verification of derivedgeneralizations comes through observations aboutparticular phenomena that appear to support it.
  25. 25. Induction (Continued)Critics of this approach claim that: it is essentiallydescriptive and does not really explain anythingas it fails to uncover the causes of thegeneralized conjunctions; there is no purelylogical inductive process for establishing thevalidity of universal statements from a set ofsingular ones; it is impossible to make the infinitenumber of observations required to prove theuniversal statement true in all cases and; isobjectivity possible when observations and theiranalysis are made by people who have some viewof the world arising out of their particulardiscipline?
  26. 26. Inductive Thinking
  27. 27. DeductionThe Deductive (hypothetico-deductive orfalsificationist) approach is the reverse ofan Inductive one. It begins explicitly with atentative hypothesis or set of hypothesesthat form a theory which could provide apossible answer or explanation for aparticular problem, then proceeds to useobservations to rigorously test thehypotheses.
  28. 28. The Deductive argument moves frompremises, at least one of which is ageneral or universal statement, to aconclusion that is a singular statement.Deductive propositions form a hierarchyfrom theoretical to observational; fromabstract to concrete. The Deductivistaccepts that observation is guided andpresupposed by the theory.
  29. 29. Deduction (continued)Attempts are made to refute the hypothesesthrough rigorous criticism and testing. If thedata derived by testing the hypothesis is notconsistent with the predicted conclusions, thetheory must be false. Surviving theories arecorroborated, but are never proved true despitewithstanding testing and observation. A currenttheory is superior to its predecessors onlybecause it has withstood tests which falsifiedits predecessor.
  30. 30. Deduction (continued)Critics of this approach claim that:• where a theory has not been falsified, its acceptance relies on data that lend inductive support;• Deductivists are reluctant to deal with the process by which hypotheses come into being;• whether Deductivism provides any rational basis for choosing between all un-refuted alternative theories in order to make some practical prediction.• The Inductivist position is that the truth of theories could be conclusively established.• The Deductivist position claims that while the pursuit of truth is the goal of science, all scientific theories are tentative.• Neither Induction or Deduction contributes a single new concept or new idea.
  31. 31. Deductive Thinking
  32. 32. The Research Wheel
  33. 33. Combined approach:A scheme has been proposed by Wallace(1971) that combines Inductive andDeductive strategies to capitalize on theirstrengths and minimize their weaknessescreating a cyclic process that allows formovement between theorizing and doingempirical research while using bothInductive and Deductive methods ofreasoning.
  34. 34. RetroductionRetroductive research strategy involves the building ofhypothetical models as a way of uncovering the realstructures and mechanisms which are assumed toproduce empirical phenomena. The model, if it were toexist and act in the postulated way, would thereforeaccount for the phenomena in question. In constructingthese models of mechanisms that have usually neverbeen observed, ideas may be borrowed from knownstructures and mechanisms in other fields.A phenomena or range of phenomena is identified,explanations based on the postulated existence of agenerative mechanism are constructed and empiricallytested, and this mechanism then becomes thephenomenon to be explained and the cycle repeats. p168
  35. 35. RetroductionPierce regarded Retroduction or hypothesisformulation as being the first stage of an enquiry. Itis a process akin to finding the right key for the lock,although the key may never have been observedbefore.The hypothesis must be tested using bothDeduction and Induction; in the second stage of anenquiry, consequences are deducted from thehypothesis and, in the third stage, theseconsequences are tested by means of Induction. Hesuggested that a hypothesis must eliminatepuzzlement as a necessary first step.
  36. 36. Retroduction/Abduction occurs in thecontext of ontological, conceptual andtheoretical assumptions; the researcherdoes not start with a blank slate in themanner implied by Inductivists. Quasi-accessible mechanisms can be discoveredfrom empirical studies of an exploratorykind with input from an associated field ofknowledge in which some process is usedas an analogy for the one underinvestigation. p 169
  37. 37. Retroduction differs from Induction which infersfrom one set of facts, another set offacts, whereas Retroduction infers from facts ofone kind, to facts of another. Unlike Deductivereasoning, Inductive and Retroductive reasoningare synthetic or ampliative because they makeclaims that do not follow logically from thepremises. In addition, neither Induction norDeduction can produce any new ideas. On theother hand, Retroductive/Abductive reasoninginvolves making an hypothesis which appears toexplain what has been observed; it is observingsome phenomenon and then claiming what it wasthat gave rise to it.
  38. 38. AbductionThe Abductive research strategy is used byInterpretivism to produce scientific accounts ofsocial life by drawing on the concepts andmeanings used by social actors and the activities inwhich they engage.Access to any social world is by the accounts givenby the people who inhabit it. These accountscontain the concepts that people use to structuretheir world - the meanings and interpretations, themotives and intentions which people use in theireveryday lives and which direct their behavior.
  39. 39. Abduction/Interpretivism acknowledges that humanbehavior depends on how individuals interpret theconditions in which they find themselves andaccepts that it is essential to have a description ofthe social world on its own terms. It is the task ofthe social scientist to discover and describe thisworld from an insider view and not impose anoutsider view.A position taken by Douglas rules out experimentalsituations. Everyday life is studied in its own terms- the members understanding, and only methods ofobservation and analysis that retain the integrity ofthe phenomena should be used.
  40. 40. Abduction is applied when attempting to movefrom lay accounts of everyday life, to technical,scientific or expert descriptions of that sociallife. p 177Abduction is a developing strategy with on-going debate on how best to move from laylanguage to technical language. There aredifferences of opinion with regard to retainingthe integrity of the phenomena when movingfirst order constructs (peoples views andexplanations), to second order constructs (thesocial scientists interpretations).
  41. 41. The Abductive strategy has many layers to it. There issome difficulty in preceding to the final stage in whichsocial theories might be generated from the second orderconstructs or that these social scientific descriptions canbe understood in terms of prevailing social theories andperspectives, leading to the possibility of an explanationor a prediction.Some positions argue that the research should go nofurther than to sort through, devise categories for andpigeon hole the various constructs provided by the socialactors within the study.The Abductive/Interpretivist approach has been advocatedas either the only approach for social sciences, or anadjunct to other strategies.
  42. 42. Positivism, Critical Theory et. al, Interpretivism/Constructivism:A Comparison Among Paradigms
  43. 43. PositivismQuantitative purists (Positivists): Believe that social observations should be treated as entities in much the same way that physical scientists treat physical phenomena. Contend that the observer is separate from the entities that are subject to observation. Maintain that social science inquiry should be objective. That time- and context-free generalizations (Nagel, 1986) are desirable and possible, and Real causes of social scientific outcomes can be determined reliably and validly.
  44. 44. Interpretivism / Constructivism Qualitative purists (also called constructivists and interpretivists) reject positivism. Argue for the superiority of constructivism, idealism, relativism, humanism, hermeneutics, and, sometimes, postmodernism. Contend that multiple-constructed realities abound, That time- and context-free generalizations are neither desirable nor possible,
  45. 45. Interpretivism/Constructivism (Cont’d) That research is value-bound, That it is impossible to differentiate fully causes and effects, That logic flows from specific to general (e.g., explanations are generated inductively from the data), and That knower and known cannot be separated because the subjective knower is the only source of reality.
  46. 46. Understanding Critical TheoryTwo Propositions 1) People are a product of the society in which they live. Hence this implies that their is no such thing as an objective fact that can be known outside of structure. 2) Intellectuals should not try to be objective and separate value judgments from their work
  47. 47. Quantitative Versus Qualitative Research:Salient Features; Mixed Methods?
  48. 48. Quantitative Qualitative research research Its purpose is to explain  Its purpose is to social life understand social life Is nomothetic – interested  Is ideographic – in establishing law-like describes reality as it is statements, causes, consequences, etc Aims at theory testing  Aims at theory building Employs an objective  Employs a subjective approach approach
  49. 49. Quantitative Qualitative research research Is etiological – interested  Is historical – interested in explanations over in real cases space and time Is a closed approach – is  Is open and flexible in all strictly planned aspects Research process is  Research process is predetermined influenced by the respondent Uses a rigid and static  Uses a dynamic approach approach
  50. 50. Quantitative research Qualitative research Employs an inflexible  Employs a flexible process process Is particularistic,  Is holistic – studies studies elements, whole units variables Employs random  Employs theoretical sampling sampling
  51. 51. Quantitative research Qualitative research Places priority on  Places priority on studying differences studying similarities Employs a reductive  Employs an data analysis explicative data analysis Employs high levels of measurement  Employs low levels of measurement Employs a deductive  Employs an approach inductive approach
  52. 52. Feature Quantitative Qualitative Methodology MethodologyNature of reality Objective; simple; Subjective; single; tangible problematic; sense holistic; a social impressions constructCauses and Nomological Non-deterministic;effects thinking; cause – mutual shaping; no effect linkages cause – effect linkagesThe role of values Value neutral; Normativism; value-free inquiry value-bound inquiry
  53. 53. Feature Quantitative Methodology Qualitative MethodologyNatural and social Deductive; model of Inductive; rejection of thesciences natural sciences; natural sciences model; nomothetic; bases on ideographic; no strict strict rules rules; interpretationsMethods Quantitative, Qualitative, with less mathematical; extensive emphasis on statistics; use of statistics verbal and qualitative analysisResearcher‟s role Rather passive; is the Active; „knower‟ and „knower‟; is separate from „known‟ are interactive subject – the known: and inseparable dualismGeneralizations Inductive generalizations; Analytical or conceptual nomothetic statements generalizations; time- and-context specific
  54. 54. Inter-relationship between the building blocks of ResearchOntology Epistemology Methodology Methods SourcesWhat’s outthere toknow? What and how can we know How can we about it? go about acquiring What knowledge? procedures can we use to Which acquire it? data can we collect? Adapted from Hay, 2002, pg. 64
  55. 55. Researcher as Bricoleur
  56. 56. The Qualitative Researcher as BricoleurThe multiple methodologies of qualitativeresearch may be viewed as a bricolage, andthe researcher as bricoleur.A bricoleur is a “Jack of all trades or a kindof professional do-it-yourself person”.The bricoleur produces a bricolage, that is, apieced together, close-knit set of practicesthat provide solutions to a problem in aconcrete situation.
  57. 57. The Qualitative Researcher as Bricoleur The solution (bricolage) which is the result of the bricoleur‟s method is an (emergent) construction that changes and takes new forms as different tools, methods, and techniques are added to the puzzles Bricoleur uses the tools of his or her methodological trade, deploying whatever strategies, methods or empirical materials, as are at hand, or invents and pieces together new tools if needed
  58. 58.  The choice of research practices depends upon the questions that are asked, and the questions depend on their context: The combination of multiple methods, empirical materials, perspectives and observers in a single study is best understood, then, as a strategy that adds rigor, breadth and depth to any investigation
  59. 59.  The bricoleur is adept at performing a large number of tasks, ranging from interviewing to observing, to interpreting personal and historical documents, to intensive self reflection and introspection The bricoleur reads widely and is knowledgeable about the many interpretive paradigms/perspectives (Feminism, Marxism, Cultural Studies, Constructivism) that can be brought to any particular problem
  60. 60.  He/She may not feel that paradigms can be mingled or synthesized, that is, paradigms as overarching philosophical systems denoting particular anthologies, epistemologies, and methodologies cannot be easily moved between. They represent belief systems that attach the user to a particular worldview. Perspectives, in contrast, are less well developed systems, and can be more easily moved between.
  61. 61.  The researcher-as-bricoleur-theorist works between and within competing and overlapping perspectives and paradigms. Research is an interactive process shaped by researcher‟s personal history, biography, gender, social class, race and ethnicity and those of the people in the setting. The bricoleur knows that there is no value-free science. Thus the narratives, or stories, scientists tell are accounts couched and framed within specific storytelling traditions often defined as paradigms (e.g. Positivism, Post-positivism, Constructivism).
  62. 62.  He/She knows that researchers all tell stories about the worlds they have studied The product of the bricoleur‟s labor is a bricolage, a complex dense, reflexive, collage- like creation that represents the researcher‟s images, understanding, and interpretation of the world or phenomenon under analysis. This bricolage will connect the parts to the whole, stressing the meaningful relationships that operate in the situations and social worlds studies.
  63. 63. Suggested Readings Norman W. H. Blaikie, Approaches to Social Inquiry, Polity Press, UK,1993. Norman W. H. Blaikie, Designing Social Research Polity Press, UK, 2000. Norman K, Denzin and Yvonna S. Lincoln, Handbook of Qualitative Research, SAGE Publications, USA,1993.
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