Research Traditions and Paradigms


Introduction (1 level: Centered, Boldface, Title Case Heading)
When “life overrides reproductive death,” ignorance is overcome by knowledge (Durant, 1956, 94). In general terms, knowledge based on perception (senses), conception (intellect), intuition and research includes human sources of knowledge. All these are sadly basically limited and incomplete in various ways.
The information based on research is, however, among these the most accurate. The primary goal of research is therefore to generate and extend evidence-based knowledge. The word “global research” is described by Bassey (1990, 35) as “systematic, critical and independent research that aims to promote information.”. In the same direction, Ernest (1994, 8) sees research to be “a systematic investigation with an objective to generate knowledge.” The two definitions underline the same point: systematic knowledge production and expansion by means of research. In addition, for any research effort there are some thumb laws. Research must connect and build on existing knowledge, take advantage of a structured investigation process and establish theory (Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2013).
Some key features of study are: (a) theoretical approach; (b) a carefully and thoroughly designed hypothesis to produce real knowledge; (d) clear and reliable methods for data collection and analysis; (e) factual arguments based on sound evidence; and (f) should essentially valuable and useful (Richard, 2003). In reality, work failing to make any useful contribution to the body of knowledge does not serve its very function. The multitude of research paradigms in literature are increasingly disturbing an emerging researcher who wants to improve his research skills and contribute to the body of knowledge.
Every now and then, we see an ever increasing diversity of ideas and views on several methodologies, emerging paradigms and theoretical frameworks, which is causing less experienced researchers to become unwilling overlooked for their research concepts. This essay will critically analyze at least four traditions and paradigms.
Paradigm and Traditions
In his landmark book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions Thomas Kuhn first introduced the term paradigm. It defines it as an embedded cluster of meaningful concepts, variables and issues associated with the methodology and tools concerned (Khun, 1970). From a study point of view, the definition of Guba and Lincoln’s (Guba & Lincoln, 1994, 105) seems most fitting as they see a paradigm as ‘ a basic system or worldview that directs the researcher not only in process decisions but also on an ontological and epistemological basis. The concept of paradigm can be used in three ways: a) to institutionalize cognitive thought, b) to integrate loosely all methods and c) viewpoints into the study of any topic and to define specific approaches to research, e.g. positive or interpretative paradigms (Grix, 2010). There is usually nothing to worry about as our mind paradigms have a powerful effect as they build the lens that we see the world through.
Interpretative Paradigm
Who thinks to rise above partiality…betrays his secret predilection in his choice of materials, and in the nuances of his adjectives –Will Durant, Lessons of History.
This paradigm is also recognized as a humanistic, constructivist, naturalist, anti-positive or alternative study model. Several ingenuous and experienced researchers refer to as the qualitative strategy to research in education. While this application is quite common, it is indeed a misnomer. Qualitative research simply refers to a group of approaches rather than a technique or analysis model (Ernest, 1994). Interpretation work attempts to explain the principles, attitudes and perceptions of social phenomena and thereby extracts the understanding of human social activities and interactions or empathies as first discussed by Max Weber (Smith and Hashusias, 1986, Pg. 5). Interpretivists believe that perception is inseparable from interpretation. They regard all social research as interpretive because the desire of the researcher is to understand and interpret social reality as the guideline for all such research. Paradigm of interpretation – in view of Nietzhean sense assumes no evidence, only interpretations (Bhattarcharya, 2008, Pg. 255). This seeks to examine the experiences of individuals, share interpretations and gain insights into the case observed (Grix, 2010). The interpretive theory developed from the philosophy of the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl, the study of hermeneutics by Wilhelm Dilthey and some German philosophers (Mackenzie & Knipe, 2006). In contrast to the positivists, interpretive researchers generally do not start with a theory, instead of “generating or inductionally developing a theory or pattern of meaning.” (Creswell, 2003, pg. 5). Interpretive work offers detailed and thorough explanations of the phenomenon being studied. Given that these rich descriptions mainly concern people and their relationships and contexts, the reader can gain a strong understanding of the phenomena through identification and empathy The main objective of interpretive research is therefore to’ enlighten the general (Ernest, 1994, pg. 24).
A “good enough researcher,” according to Dornyei (2007), ought to have true and powerful inquisitiveness, good sense, creative thinking, a sense of professionalism and accountability. But being a ‘ good enough researcher’ is not enough for an interpretive researcher, he must have a deeply reflective personality with compassion over and above all these qualities. Because ‘ facts have no significance except for an interpretation ‘ (Covey, 1989, pg. 29), the (interpretive) researcher must be “a man with equal gratitude to buffets of fortune and rewards, ‘ an individual with sound judgment and profound wisdom. (Shakespeare, Hamlet). There are also some downsides of interpretive work. It was criticised because it was too impressionist. Some critics are also worried by the binary nature of the inquiry and its results, which stresses that particular attention must be paid to the enforceability of results into other contexts (Ernest, 1994).
In short, the goal of objectivity is impossible as far as study, and in particular education research, is concerned: the ‘ hardest to do science of all ‘ (Berliner, 2002, pg. 18). Interpretativism is therefore a more fitting model for researchers in education and social science due to its immense scope for research depth, interpretativeness, illumination, and participatory transparency (Shank & Villella, 2004).

  1. Ontology
    The ontological suppositions are the first set of hypotheses ‘ which affect the totality or essence of the social phenomena under examination’ (Cohen et al, 2013). Interpretivism takes the ontology of relativism. Interpretation investigators believe that objects depend on the perception of people or viewers, for their existence (Ernest, 1994). The reality in terms of ideology and community is created and perceived by individuals. There are different interpretations or meanings of a single occurrence. Interpretive investigators believe that reality is multi-layered, dynamic, regional and unique. We therefore see themselves as component of the research tools that demonstrate the study being addressed (Guba & Lincoln, 1994).
  2. Epistemology
    The philosophy of knowledge and learning comprises what we understand of epistemology (Ernest, 1994). The epistemological assertions comprise “the very foundation of knowledge – its essence and types, how to be acquired and how it can be communicated to people” (Cohen et al, 2007, pg. 7). Subjectivism is the epistemology of an understanding model. Experts believe that knowledge is personalized and distinctive which urges them to engage in any related social event with their respondents. They affect, and can make all the difference to the observable phenomena. These not just demonstrate how the world around them is viewed by individuals and social groups, but also how the authors are further understood through their ideas, hypotheses and literature guidance (Bryman, 2012, pg. 279).
  3. Methodology and Methods
    Crotty (1998) states that methodology is the theory behind the processes and concepts of a specific investigation area. The principle underlines the way we research the social world and show how the knowledge generated is valid. Methodological beliefs about how truth is ethically and epistemologically and how it gets possible to access this fact rely on the methodology. Methodological attributes, methods and strategies are unique. The way each method treats information and data collection procedures influences these discrepancies (Cohen et al, 2007).
    Hermeneutic and dialectical is research methodology of interpretivism (Guba and Lincoln, 1994). The aim of the study is to examine details, complexity and location of people’s everyday activities or sociological phenomena attentively (Schwandt, 1994). Interpretive researchers are not accepting that qualitative methods of study alone can be used to understand social behavior satisfactorily. For this reason, they claim that their diverse and diversified approach makes interpretive research methodologies more appropriate. Those methodologies cover a wide range of our lives consisting of phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, case studies, symbolic interactivity, historical, documentary and ethno-methodological research. These are defined as following:
  4. Phenomenology
    Phenomenology discusses the experiences or phenomena of several people. It focuses on the common aspects of the phenomenon by all participants. ‘ The ‘ primal phenomena ‘ are the phenomenologists talking about the ‘ imminent, original consciousness data ‘ (Crotty, 1998, pg. 79).
  5. Grounded Theory
    It is a common term that often stands for qualitative research. The hypothesis is derived from the research study and from the evidence in the research process (Glaser & Strauss, 1967).
  6. Ethnography
    The essence of the qualitative investigation is symbolized. The aim is to describe and analyze cultures, groups and people’s practices and beliefs from the perspective of the participants. It also examines the influence on human beings of cultures or contexts (Hammersley, 1985, pg. 152).
  7. Case Study
    It’s a common social science approach. It uses various data sources to thoroughly investigate any social phenomenon. A person, an activity, a social activity, community, organization or institution may be a ‘ case ‘ (Gustafsson, 2017). The work can be descriptive, explanatory or exploratory.
  8. Historical and Documentary Research
    This usually sees the study of qualitative historical studies, because it is heavily dependent on oral and other conceptual materials originating from primitive societies or cultures (Scott & Marshall, 2014, pg. 188).
  9. Ethno-methodology
    It’s all about the world of daily life. ‘ The intentional activity of people is emphasized ‘ and describes ‘ intersubjective individual talks ‘. Ethno-methodologists focus on how the meaning of common sense is created in daily social experiences. Our main interest is to understand how people understand social circumstances (Scott & Morrison, 2005, pg. 93).
  10. Symbolic Interactionism
    It ‘explores the socially common understanding as the essential framework that governs our lives. ‘ The distinctive feature of this approach is that it shows how people perceive and describe the actions of one another instead of responding to one another (Crotty, 1998, pg. 71).
  11. Narrative Research
    It is a form of survey where the researcher analyses people’s lives and asks one or more people to tell their lives their stories (Grix, 2010).
    Methods of study apply to practical questions of choosing an appropriate research design to answer the question and layout and adapt instruments for generating data (Cohen et al, 2007). In other words, “teachings or procedures for collecting and analyzing data” are research methods. The techniques for the data collection used for the above methodologies include assessment, open-ended questionnaires, semi-structured, international interviews and report analysis. This model is not only based on statistical analysis for data analysis. This uses a research, holistic and inductive method for the analysis of the data (Creswell, 2003). In terms of the quality of research, some qualitative researchers such as Mouton (1996) have tended to evaluate reliability and validity in ways similar to quantitative research and other, like Esiner (1998), have rejected that idea. The following alternatives were proposed by Guba and Lincoln (1994): integrity, neutrality, continuity, quality, coherence, applicability, transformability, faith and transferability. Bryman (2008) appreciated greatly and many quality researchers began to promote and advocate the realization of these terms in qualitative research in several new publications. Guba and Lincoln (1994) claim that this initiative appears to improve the quality of interpretive work to some degree, but further advances are strongly encouraged in this field.
    Positivist Paradigm
    Positivism is known as the paragon of a host of ideas or perspectives which contain or overlap positions such as empiricism, behavior and naturism, etc. (Grix, 2010). Crotty (1998, pg. 8) notes that the positivism model which is the analytical theory under objective epistemology in quantitative research is used to identify the methodology of natural sciences.
    Positivism was last century’s most prevailing paradigm. Inspired by the famous saying of Descartes “cogito ergo sum,” ‘ I am therefore reflection, ‘ which embodies the concept of dualism as individual entity of mind and matter. This includes theories that regard reality as independent from the observer (Cohen et al, 2007). Positivist researchers believe that this world is stable and organized and their task is to measure and process data and provide the best solution to the problems identified. We also assume that a universally recognized and best solution to any problem is only possible. The works of several French illumined philosophers such as Comte, Condorcet and Saint Simon and the’ Vienna Circle’ of philosophers have strengthened Positivism. Positivism The main feature is Auguste Comte, whose term “positivism” is unjustifiably acknowledged; he is the popularizer of this term (Crotty, 1998). Positivists believe that the social world can be explored and elaborated on scientifically, and even though factors of ideation are central to the social world, they are still possible (Kuhn, 1970). In the hard sciences, the work in this model has been very fruitful because good laws can lead to generalizations. Positivism’s advantages are its clarity, accuracy, rigour, standards and generalization (Ernest, 1994). It has, however, some inherent weaknesses: some optimistic researchers have been fake, misleading and not true in the measuring system (Cicourel, 1964).
    Ontology
    Positivism’s ontology is realism. There is reality in the world and the laws of nature are continuous (Guba and Lincoln, 1994). Positivist investigators feel that social reality can be witnessed, calculated and studied objectively, regardless of the observationist (Pring, 2000), by means of the scientific process, without intervention from the research scientist or observer.
    Epistemology
    The epistemology of positivism (Guba and Lincoln, 1994) is objectivistic and dualistic. Objects mechanically adapt to their environment and have an identity-dependent presence. Positive people believe that human experience is empirical in the social environment, representing an external truth as the basis of human understanding (Weber, 2004).
    Methodology and Methods
    Empirical experimentalism is fundamental to the Positivist scientific investigation: where theoretical questions or theories under carefully controlled conditions are subjected to empirical testing (Guba and Lincoln 1994). Positive research, which is usually associated with quantitative research, can be broadly defined in two categories: experimental and non-experimental research. The experimental investigation aims to examine and analyze the central relation between time-and context-consistent variables. This deals mainly with the monitoring and management of situations by the investigator in order to determine the events in accordance with their interests. On the other hand, the investigator does not exploit the independent variable in pseudo-experimental research, especially in correlation studies. It focuses on the relationships between the variables of the researchers (Cohen et al., 2007). Nevertheless, because of the potential for alternative explanations, it seems that this relation cannot allow the researchers to generalize the findings as researchers can cause and effect. Positivists use a range of data collection methods, such as screening, formal interviews and closing questionnaires. The authors must choose a method in accordance with their specific paradigms, their philosophical views and their design for the analysis. In general, they statistically analyze data (Creswell, 2003).
    Critical Paradigm
    Critical work is aimed in the transformation of economic, political and cultural contexts to emancipate people (Alwan, 2007). Researchers work in this paradigm for a shaken change for social institutions and power structures, leading to social equality and justice (Carspecken, 2013, pg. 177). They contest current social order and cultural values for the disadvantaged and often take a militant stand – with action as an objective for research (Hebermas, 1984, pg. 107). In practical terms, the role of researchers should be transformational intellectuals that free people from contemporary, psychological, mental and social situations.
    Ontology
    Historical realism is the ontology of critical paradigm. A critical paradigm considers the reality tangible and made up of structures which are historically situated (Guba and Lincoln 1994). Critical researchers view society in terms of ambitions, systems of power and policy implications as an educational practice. We view questions of probability, estimation, hegemony and power from oppressed people’s perspectives.
    Epistemology
    The critical paradigm is an epistemological approach (Guba and Lincoln, 1994). The hypothesis argues that knowledge comes from a social context in which values are generated and promoted, and human perception is value-laden and prejudicially oriented. Modern scientists therefore believe that the concept we follow guides our behavior (Ernest, 1994). They suggest reflexivity as a solution to the skepticism dilemma (or constant questioning). The research process, which inevitable influence the inquiry, is actively and closely involved in practice by critical scientists and participants or the objects researched (Creswell, 2003).
    Methodology and Methods
    Critical research is of a dialectical nature, using two approaches: critical ideology and research into action (Cohen et al., 2007). The latter are used by dominant forces, at the risk of marginalizing others, to promote and legitimize their specific interests. The latter is a powerful tool that can be used in various contexts of transition and transformation. The aim of education is to collect information to gain clear insight into educational practices in general and improve the achievements of students by developing reflection and effective positive changes to the school environment (Mills, 2003). It also stresses that participants, organizations and investigators for any research work should be closely related to each other (Creswell, 2003).
    Conclusion
    A critical analysis of the three main paradigms of science was discussed in this paper. In reality, an outline of these paradigms is essential to all research efforts. A scientist takes her stance on a research trend by following a model. Irrespective of the paradigm’s overarching importance, some scientists tend to model studies without maintaining a clear connection between both the paradigm nature and the theories of their studies (Troudi, 2010). It is essential for a scientist to make a deliberate decision about a research model, otherwise the study design or methodology will not be chosen.

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