Notes: Qualitative Research 2: Paradigms of social research – reading

These brief reading notes summarise the key points made in the below reading as preparation for a seminar about various paradigms used in education and social science research.

Corbetta, P. (2003). Paradigms of social research. In Social research: Theory, methods and techniques (pp. 8-29). : SAGE Publications Ltd doi: 10.4135/9781849209922.n1

SAGE Research Methods: Paradigms of social sciences – reading

Paradigm = Philosophical world-view proposed in the study…a guide or a map, including theory, methods and standards for research.

Accepted by community of scientists / academics in the discipline.

Founded on previous acquisitions in the discipline.

Distinctive way of orienting to the world

To be located in a particular paradigm is to view the world in a particular way.

“Entire constellation of beliefs, values, techniques and so on shared by the members of a given community” – Kuhn 1970.

Synonyms of the concept can be: approach, orientation, framework, paradigm, ontology, epistemology and even worldview – most important to use chosen term consistently!

Paradigms direct research:

  • Specification and choice of what to study
  • Formulation of hypotheses
  • Research techniques.

In social sciences – complex, not a single paradigm: Multi-paradigmatic. Role of guiding vision and view of the world, ways of knowing.

3 Main Questions:

  1. Does it exist? Real, objective?
  2. Is it knowable?
  3. How can we acquire knowledge about it?

→ ESSENCE: Ontology

→ KNOWLEDGE: Epistemology

→ METHOD: Methodology

Table on p9 outlines Positivism → Post-positivism → Interpretivism

Positivism/post-positivism = 2nd half of 19th century. Logic. Probability. Empirical foundation. Social reality can be observed. Quantitative research methods. Desire to control and to know. Anthropocentric. Western way of thinking.

Interpretivism = Difference between social and natural sciences. Reality must be interpreted. Comprehension. More qualitative methods. One of many actors in the world, not the rulers.



One thought on “Notes: Qualitative Research 2: Paradigms of social research – reading

  1. Pingback: Notes: Qualitative Research 3: What do I want to do? From aim to realisation – MinLand

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