Research Paradigms and Logic of Research

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Research Paradigms and Logic of Research: Implications for Research Design

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

Research Paradigms and Logic of Research: Implications for Research Design? By : Mr. Nagendra Bahadur Amatya Institute of e ngineering, Pulchowk campus, Nepal E-mail: nbamatya@hotmail.com The Classical Greek philosopher Socrates The Classical Greek philosopher Plato.

Presentation Outline (Part I):

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

Presentation Outline (Part II):

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

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“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.” What is research?

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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]

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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

Synoptic View of PARADIGM ?:

Synoptic View of PARADIGM ? a mental model a way of seeing a filter for one's perceptions a frame of reference a framework of thought or beliefs through which one's 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

Paradigm Shift:

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 . It's a revolution, a transformation, a sort of metamorphosis. It just does not happen, but rather it is driven by agents of change.

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Main Components of a Paradigm: (Ontology, Epistemology, Methodology)

Main Components of Paradigm:

Main Components of Paradigm ‘ Epistemology – ‘The branch of philosophy concerned with the origin, nature, methods & limits of knowledge’ Ontology – ‘concerned with being’ or reality.

Ontology:

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

Ontology:

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)

Epistemology:

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).

Epistemology:

Epistemology Derived from the Greek words episteme (knowledge) and logos (reason), epistemology focuses on the knowledge-gathering process and is concerned with developing new models or theories that are better than competing models and theories. Knowledge, and the ways of discovering it, is not static, but forever changing. When reflecting on theories, and concepts in general, researchers need to reflect on the assumptions on which they are based and where they originate from in the first place.

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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

Research Methods and Methodology :

Research Methods and Methodology Methodology refers to general principles which underline how we investigate the social world and how we demonstrate that the knowledge generated is valid. Research methods refers to the more practical issues of choosing an appropriate research design – perhaps an experiment or a survey – to answer a research question, and then designing instruments to generate data.

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Research Paradigms and Social Research

Basic Beliefs (Metaphysics) of Alternative Inquiry Paradigms :

Basic Beliefs (Metaphysics) of Alternative Inquiry Paradigms Item Positivism Post Positivism Critical Theory, et al Constructivism (learning theory) Ontology Naïve realism —“real” reality but apprehend able Critical realism— “real” reality but only imperfectly and probabilistically apprehend able Historical realism —virtual reality shaped by social, political, cultural, economic, ethnic, and gender values; crystallized over time Relativism —local and specific constructed realities Epistemology Dualist/ objectivist; findings true Modified dualist/ objectivist; critical tradition/community; findings probably true Transactional/ subjectivist; value-mediated findings Transactional/ subjectivist; created findings Methodology Experimental/ manipulative; verification of hypotheses; chiefly quantitative methods methods Modified experimental/ manipulative; critical multiplism; falsification of hypotheses; may include qualitative Dialogic/dialectical Hermeneutical/ dialectical

Paradigm Positions on Selected Practical Issues:

Issue Positivism Post Positivism Critical Theory, et al Constructivism Nature of knowledge Verified hypotheses established as facts or laws Non falsified hypotheses that are probable facts or laws Structural/historical insights Individual reconstructions coalescing around consensus Inquiry aim explanation Prediction and control Critique and transformation, restitution and emancipation Understanding; reconstruction Knowledge accumulation Accretion – “building blocks” adding to “edifice of knowledge”; generalizations and cause-effect linkages Historical situatedness; generalization by similarity More informed and sophisticated reconstructions, vicarious experience Goodness or quality criteria Conventional benchmarks of “rigor” internal and external validity, reliability and objectivity Historical situatenedness; erosion of ignorance and misapprehensions, action stimulus Trustworthiness and authenticity Values Excluded – influence denied Included -- formative Paradigm Positions on Selected Practical Issues

Paradigm Positions on Selected Practical Issues (Continued):

Paradigm Positions on Selected Practical Issues (Continued) Issue Positivism Post Positivism Critical Theory, et al Constructivism Ethics Extrinsic; tilt towards deception Intrinsic; tilt towards moral elevation Intrinsic; process tilt towards revelation; special problems Voice “disinterested scientist” as informer of decision makers, policy makers, and change agents “transformative intellectual” as advocate and activist “passionate participant” as facilitator of multi-voice reconstruction Training Technical and quantitative; substantive theories Technical; quantitative and qualitative; substantive theories Re-socialization; qualitative and quantitative; history; values of altruism and empowerment Accommodation Commensurable Incommensurable Hegemony In control of publication, funding, promotion, and tenure Seeking recognition and input

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Theoretical Perspective History Post-Positivism Positivism Interpretivism Pragmatism Participatory Postmodern

Logic of Inquiry: Research Strategies:

Logic of Inquiry: Research Strategies

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Induction The Inductive approach to enquiry builds generalizations out of observations of specific events. It starts with singular or particular statements and ends up with general or universal propositions. It presupposes that explanations about the workings of the world should be based on facts gained from pure, dispassionate and neutral observation, rather than on preconceived notions; that nature will reveal itself to a passively receptive mind.

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Induction (Continued) The Inductive strategy assumes that all science starts with observations which provide a secure basis from which knowledge can be derived and claims that reality impinges directly on the senses, hence there is a correspondence between sensory experiences, albeit extended by instrumentation, and the objects of those experiences. The conclusion of an inductive argument makes claims that exceed what is contained in the premises and so promises to extend knowledge by going beyond actual experience. The more observations that demonstrate, say, a relationship between phenomena, the higher the probability that the general statement is true. Verification of derived generalizations comes through observations about particular phenomena that appear to support it.

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Induction (Continued) Critics of this approach claim that: it is essentially descriptive and does not really explain anything as it fails to uncover the causes of the generalized conjunctions; there is no purely logical inductive process for establishing the validity of universal statements from a set of singular ones; it is impossible to make the infinite number of observations required to prove the universal statement true in all cases and; is objectivity possible when observations and their analysis are made by people who have some view of the world arising out of their particular discipline?

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Inductive Thinking

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Deduction The Deductive ( hypothetico -deductive or falsificationist ) approach is the reverse of an Inductive one. It begins explicitly with a tentative hypothesis or set of hypotheses that form a theory which could provide a possible answer or explanation for a particular problem, then proceeds to use observations to rigorously test the hypotheses.

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The Deductive argument moves from premises, at least one of which is a general or universal statement, to a conclusion that is a singular statement. Deductive propositions form a hierarchy from theoretical to observational; from abstract to concrete. The Deductivist accepts that observation is guided and presupposed by the theory.

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Deduction (continued) Attempts are made to refute the hypotheses through rigorous criticism and testing. If the data derived by testing the hypothesis is not consistent with the predicted conclusions, the theory must be false. Surviving theories are corroborated, but are never proved true despite withstanding testing and observation. A current theory is superior to its predecessors only because it has withstood tests which falsified its predecessor.

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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.

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Deductive Thinking

The Research Wheel:

The Research Wheel

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Combined approach: A scheme has been proposed by Wallace (1971) that combines Inductive and Deductive strategies to capitalize on their strengths and minimize their weaknesses creating a cyclic process that allows for movement between theorizing and doing empirical research while using both Inductive and Deductive methods of reasoning.

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Retroduction Retroductive research strategy involves the building of hypothetical models as a way of uncovering the real structures and mechanisms which are assumed to produce empirical phenomena. The model, if it were to exist and act in the postulated way, would therefore account for the phenomena in question. In constructing these models of mechanisms that have usually never been observed, ideas may be borrowed from known structures and mechanisms in other fields. A phenomena or range of phenomena is identified, explanations based on the postulated existence of a generative mechanism are constructed and empirically tested, and this mechanism then becomes the phenomenon to be explained and the cycle repeats. p168

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Retroduction Pierce regarded Retroduction or 'hypothesis formulation' as being the first stage of an enquiry. It is a process akin to finding the right key for the lock, although the key may never have been observed before. The hypothesis must be tested using both Deduction and Induction; in the second stage of an enquiry, consequences are deducted from the hypothesis and, in the third stage, these consequences are tested by means of Induction. He suggested that a hypothesis must eliminate puzzlement as a necessary first step.

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Retroduction /Abduction occurs in the context of ontological, conceptual and theoretical assumptions; the researcher does not start with a blank slate in the manner implied by Inductivists . Quasi-accessible mechanisms can be discovered from empirical studies of an exploratory kind with input from an associated field of knowledge in which some process is used as an analogy for the one under investigation. p 169

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Retroduction differs from Induction which infers from one set of facts, another set of facts, whereas Retroduction infers from facts of one kind, to facts of another. Unlike Deductive reasoning, Inductive and Retroductive reasoning are synthetic or ampliative because they make claims that do not follow logically from the premises. In addition, neither Induction nor Deduction can produce any new ideas. On the other hand, Retroductive / Abductive reasoning involves making an hypothesis which appears to explain what has been observed; it is observing some phenomenon and then claiming what it was that gave rise to it.

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Abduction The Abductive research strategy is used by Interpretivism to produce scientific accounts of social life by drawing on the concepts and meanings used by social actors and the activities in which they engage. Access to any social world is by the accounts given by the people who inhabit it. These accounts contain the concepts that people use to structure their world - the meanings and interpretations, the motives and intentions which people use in their everyday lives and which direct their behavior.

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Abduction/ Interpretivism acknowledges that human behavior depends on how individuals interpret the conditions in which they find themselves and accepts that it is essential to have a description of the social world on its own terms. It is the task of the social scientist to discover and describe this world from an 'insider' view and not impose an 'outsider' view. A position taken by Douglas rules out experimental situations. Everyday life is studied in its own terms - the members' understanding, and only methods of observation and analysis that retain the integrity of the phenomena should be used.

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Abduction is applied when attempting to move from lay accounts of everyday life, to technical, scientific or expert descriptions of that social life. p 177 Abduction is a developing strategy with on-going debate on how best to move from lay language to technical language. There are differences of opinion with regard to retaining the integrity of the phenomena when moving first order constructs (people's views and explanations), to second order constructs (the social scientist's interpretations).

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The Abductive strategy has many layers to it. There is some difficulty in preceding to the final stage in which social theories might be generated from the second order constructs or that these social scientific descriptions can be understood in terms of prevailing social theories and perspectives, leading to the possibility of an explanation or a prediction. Some positions argue that the research should go no further than to sort through, devise categories for and pigeon hole the various constructs provided by the social actors within the study. The Abductive / Interpretivist approach has been advocated as either the only approach for social sciences, or an adjunct to other strategies.

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Positivism, Critical Theory et. al, Interpretivism/Constructivism: A Comparison Among Paradigms

Positivism:

Positivism Quantitative 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.

Interpretivism / Constructivism:

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,

Interpretivism/Constructivism (Cont’d):

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.

Understanding Critical Theory:

Understanding Critical Theory Two 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

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Quantitative Versus Qualitative Research: Salient Features; Mixed Methods?

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Quantitative research Its purpose is to explain social life Is nomothetic – interested in establishing law-like statements, causes, consequences, etc Aims at theory testing Employs an objective approach Qualitative research Its purpose is to understand social life Is ideographic – describes reality as it is Aims at theory building Employs a subjective approach

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Quantitative research Is etiological – interested in explanations over space and time Is a closed approach – is strictly planned Research process is predetermined Uses a rigid and static approach Qualitative research Is historical – interested in real cases Is open and flexible in all aspects Research process is influenced by the respondent Uses a dynamic approach

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Employs an inflexible process Is particularistic, studies elements, variables Employs random sampling Employs a flexible process Is holistic – studies whole units Employs theoretical sampling Quantitative research Qualitative research

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Places priority on studying differences Employs a reductive data analysis Employs high levels of measurement Employs a deductive approach Places priority on studying similarities Employs an explicative data analysis Employs low levels of measurement Employs an inductive approach Quantitative research Qualitative research

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Feature Quantitative Methodology Qualitative Methodology Nature of reality Objective; simple; single; tangible sense impressions Subjective; problematic; holistic; a social construct Causes and effects Nomological thinking; cause – effect linkages Non-deterministic; mutual shaping; no cause – effect linkages The role of values Value neutral; value-free inquiry Normativism ; value-bound inquiry

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Feature Quantitative Methodology Qualitative Methodology Natural and social sciences Deductive; model of natural sciences; nomothetic; bases on strict rules Inductive; rejection of the natural sciences model; ideographic; no strict rules; interpretations Methods Quantitative, mathematical; extensive use of statistics Qualitative, with less emphasis on statistics; verbal and qualitative analysis Researcher’s role Rather passive; is the ‘knower’; is separate from subject – the known: dualism Active; ‘knower’ and ‘known’ are interactive and inseparable Generalizations Inductive generalizations; nomothetic statements Analytical or conceptual generalizations; time-and-context specific

Inter-relationship between the building blocks of Research:

Inter-relationship between the building blocks of Research Ontology Epistemology Methodology Methods Sources What’s out there to know? What and how can we know about it? How can we go about acquiring knowledge? What procedures can we use to acquire it? Which data can we collect? Adapted from Hay, 2002, pg. 64

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Researcher as Bricoleur

The Qualitative Researcher as Bricoleur:

The multiple methodologies of qualitative research may be viewed as a bricolage , and the researcher as bricoleur . A bricoleur is a “Jack of all trades or a kind of professional do-it-yourself person”. The bricoleur produces a bricolage , that is, a pieced together, close-knit set of practices that provide solutions to a problem in a concrete situation . The Qualitative Researcher as Bricoleur

The Qualitative Researcher as Bricoleur:

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

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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

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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

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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.

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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 ).

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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.

Suggested Readings:

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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Thank you

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