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Positivism vs Interpretivist, Dissertation – Methodology Example

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Dissertation - Methodology

According to Saunders et al (2009) positivism is mostly linked to deductive approaches. Positivists believe in the existence of a distinct, single reality. Based on the positivist philosophy, any social reality that can be quantified through appropriately organizing the collected data or information can be explored using this paradigm. Jankowicz, (2005) considers that researches based on positivist paradigm use data or information that can be measured or quantified. So for researches based on positivism, quantitative data collection tools needs to be used for collecting data. Positivists consider that there is more control over the subject that is being explored (Saunder et al, 2009).

Positivists consider that quantifications and measurements can be made through independent observations, without one being the part of the system being studied (Bryman and Bell, 2003). Researcher can gain insights on the subject matter from the information collected using the quantitative tools and can assessment are purely based on that. Researchers who uses positivist paradigm could measure the relation between different variables selected for the study and also understands the social reality and the research outcome from a quantitative perspective (Bryman, 2012).  This philosophy identifies objectivity associated with the subject matter and is considered to be mainly experimental in nature. Creswell (2009) has opined that researches done using this paradigm need to develop a fixed research design. As there appears little or no scope for quantifications in the subject matter being explored, positivist paradigm cannot be applied for the research study (Creswell, 2009; Bryman, 2012; Bryman and Bell, 2003; Jancowicz, 2005).

While on the other hand, interpretive paradigm mostly explores the subjective element of the research matter (Creswell, 2009). This is mostly associated with inductive approaches and generally cannot be quantified. Researches based on interpretivism mostly use the methodology, which is qualitative in nature (Creswell, 2009). Qualitative data collection tools need to be used for collecting information, in the case of researches based on interpretivist paradigm. Case studies, ethnographic studies, etc. are associated with this type of paradigm (Saunders et al, 2007). But there appear lot of flexibility associated with the research design, when this paradigm is applied (Tuli, 2010). Maxwell (2006) is of the opinion that interpretivist philosophy is applied only if the social reality that is being explored cannot be quantified. Interpretive paradigm is categorized as “naturalistic since they apply to real-world situations as they unfold naturally, more specifically, they tend to be non-manipulative, unobtrusive, and non-controlling” (Tuli, 2010, p. 100). This clearly point out to the fact that the social reality can be explored only contextually and this paradigm mostly considers the subjectivity associated with this type of research. That is, interpretivists argues that the social reality can be interpreted based on the perceptions of the researcher (Cohen et al, 2007). Bryman (2012) claimed that according to the interpretivist paradigm there appears more than one reality. In this case the research outcome is mostly dependant on the capability of the researcher in understanding the subject matter that is being explored. Cohen et al (2007) considers that the researcher develops the perspective about the subject of research through multiple interactions.

The aims and objectives of the research study seems to be suitable for exploring the subject from a qualitative perspective and so interpretivist paradigm was found to be more appropriate for this research study (Cohen et al, 2009; Tuli, 2010; Brymna, 2012; Maxwell, 2006; Saunders et al, 2007).

References

Bryman, A. (2012). Social research methods. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Bryman, A. and Bell, E. (2003). Business research methods. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Cohen, L. et al (2007). Research methods in education. Sixth Edition. Routledge, London.

Jankowicz, A. (2005). Business research projects. Chapman and Hall, London.

Maxwell, J. A. (2006). Qualitative research design: An interactive approach. Second Edition. Sage Publications, Thousand Islands.

Saunders, M. et al (2007). Research methods for business students. Third Edition. FT Prentice Hall, Harlow.

Saunders, M. et al (2009). Research methods for business students. Fifth Edition. Pearson Education Limited, Harlow.

Tuli, F. (2010). The basis of distinction between qualitative and quantitative research in social science: Reflection on Ontological, Epistemological and Methodological Perspectives. Ethiop. J. Educ. & Sc., 6 (1): 97 – 108.

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