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Presentation on theme: "PHILOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVES"— Presentation transcript:

Chapter 4

2 Philosophical Assumptions
Written Record Data Analysis Approach Data Collection Technique Research Method Philosophi cal Assumptio ns Philosphical Perspectives

3 Philosphical Perspectives
Introduction All research is based on some underlying assumptions about what constitutes ‘valid’ research Epistemology refers to assumptions about knowledge and how it can be obtained All qualitative researchers should understand the grounds of their knowledge, especially the validity and scope of the knowledge that they obtain Philosphical Perspectives

4 Philosphical Perspectives
Three categories All research can be classified into three categories: positivist, interpretive, and critical Qualitative research can adopt any one of these perspectives For example, case study research can be positivist, interpretive, or critical Philosphical Perspectives

5 Philosphical Perspectives
Qualitative research influences/guides positivist interpretive critical Underlying philosophical assumptions Philosphical Perspectives

6 Assumptions of positivist research
Social reality is objective, testable and independent of theoretical explanation The researcher should be objective and unbiased The researcher should be a detached value-free spectator, only an observer of the objects of study Theories and hypotheses can be tested independent of an understanding of meanings and intentions Lawlike relations can be discovered in organizations, and the purpose of research is to increase our predictive understanding of phenomena Scientific research should have formal propositions, quantifiable measures of variables, and hypothesis testing - cases are of interest only as representative of populations Philosphical Perspectives

7 Assumptions of interpretive research
Social reality is socially constructed Theories are reconstructions of the facts, and the criterion of a good theory is an understanding of meaning and intentions rather than deductive explanation Meanings in natural science are separate from facts, whereas in social science meanings are what constitute facts, for data consist of documents, intentional behaviour (action), social rules, culture, etc., and these are inseparable from their meanings for agents The hermeneutic circle – the ‘logic’ of interpretation is irreducibly circular: parts cannot be understood without the whole, data and concepts cannot be understood without theory and context, etc. Philosphical Perspectives

8 Assumptions of critical research
Similar to interpretive research except that in addition: A focus on critique – critique of the prevailing social conditions and system of constraints Consider the complex relationships between human interests, knowledge, power and forms of social control. Challenge prevailing communities of assumptions Challenge established social practices Have an ethically-based stance Some types of critical theory suggest individual emancipation and/or improvements in society Philosphical Perspectives

9 Philosphical Perspectives
Examples Positivist research – Wong and Ellis (2002). A focus on testable propositions Interpretive research – Orlikowski (1991). A focus on sense-making and meaning Critical research – Myers and Young (1997). A focus on hidden agendas, power, and other ‘taken for granted’ aspects of social reality Philosphical Perspectives


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