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Which clippings match 'Positivist' keyword pg.1 of 1
20 DECEMBER 2012

How to design your research project

"What are your beliefs about how valid knowledge can be obtained? This will influence your approach to your research. If you are a positivist, for example, (who believes that valid knowledge can be obtained through a scientific approach), you are likely to choose a quantitative research method that begins with a theory and tests that theory. If you favour the social constructivist view that meaning is subjective, gained through interactions with others, you would be more likely to choose qualitative research methods that explores themes. Qualitative research is about generating theory and finding patterns of meaning."

(Centre for Academic Development and Quality, Nottingham Trent University)



Abbas Tashakkori • Anthony Onwuegbuzie • audiencebeliefs • Centre for Academic Development and Quality • data collection • epistemological approach • epistemological beliefs • epistemologyethical considerationsethical issues • existing theory • experimental designs • generating theory • interactions with others • John Creswell • Journal of Mixed Methods Research • Judith Bell • Mark Weinstein • Martyn Denscombe • Matt Henn • meaning is subjective • mixed methods • mixed methods research • new knowledge • new research methods • new theory • Nick Foard • non-experimental design • patterns of meaningpositivistqualitative research • quantitative research methods • research • research aims • research approachresearch contributionresearch designresearch disseminationresearch methodologyresearch projectresearch questions • research theory • scientific approach • social constructivistsocial sciencetriangulationvalid knowledge


Simon Perkins

Self-Reflexivity: The Natural Sciences Versus The Human Sciences

"The natural sciences examine and explain phenomena which do not ascribe meanings or understandings to themselves; the natural sciences are not, and cannot be, self–reflexive; their success depends on their background practices remaining opaque to their practitioners, on their being taken for granted and ignored.[27] The human sciences, by contrast, attempt to understand phenomena which have self–referential and reflexive meanings and understandings; they are necessarily self–reflexive and concerned with their own background practices; and their success depends on their understanding and awareness of their background practices.[28] So whereas the interpretive practices of the scientist play no internal role in the formulation of theories or models in the natural sciences, those same interpretive practices play a major internal role in the human sciences. The human sciences have no reason to exist except to question the bases of human action, and this necessarily includes the self–reflexive study of the bases of their own modes of interpretation. The natural and the human sciences differ in the fact that background is external in the former and internal in the latter.[27] We follow Apel in excluding behaviourist psychology and statistical sociology from the human sciences as being wholly non–reflexive. They deal exclusively with humans as "things," and have a technological relation to practice. See Karl–Otto Apel, "The A Priori of Communication and the Foundation of the Humanities," in Dallmayr and McCarthy, op. cit., 292–315, p. 309.[28] Rorty denies this distinction, claiming that "anything is, for purposes of being inquired into, constituted within a web of meanings." In his view the meanings of actions and practices equate what their agents say about them. See Georgia Warnke, Gadamer, Hermeneutics, Tradition and Reason, London, Polity Press, 1987, pp. 141 ff."

(Adrian Snodgrass and Richard Coyne)

1). Snodgrass, A. and R. Coyne (1997). "Is Designing Hermeneutical", Architectural Theory Review Journal of The Department of Architecture Vol. 1 No. 1. Sydney, The University of Sydney, Department of Architecture: 72.


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