RESEARCH: MEANING, TYPES, AND CHARACTERISTICS, POSITIVISM AND POST- POSITIVISTIC APPROACH TO RESEARCH

 

Definition

Research (Re + Search) i.e. (Search of Searched) is to make known of as existing unknown thing. Research means to elicit some facts out of known thing.

Research (Latin word) – “to know”.

Research:

  • Is an academic activity and as such the term should be used in a technical sense.
  • Research of knowledge.
  • The process of arriving as desirable solution to a problem through the planned and systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of data.

Characteristics:

  1. Basic Search
  2. Long term planning
  3. Naturalistic enquiry
  4. Inductive analysis
  5. Holistic perspective
  6. Personal contact and insight
  7. Dynamic systems
  8. Unique Case Orientation
  9. Context Sensitivity
  10. Empirical research
  11. Empathetic Neutrality
  12. Objectivity
  13. Qualitative Data

Important Points

  1. Gather new knowledge or data from primary or firsthand sources.
  2. It places emphasis upon the discovery of general principals
  3. Is a systematic and accurate investigation.
  4. Uses certain valid data gathering devices.
  5. Is logical and objective.
  6. The researcher resists the temptation to seek only the data that support his hypothesis.

 

Objective of Research                  

        Theoretical objective            Factual Objective Application Objective                 
        (Explanatory research)

Explain relationship between/of  Certain variables.

Those  researches whose objectives are theoretical formulate the new Theories, principals or laws.

e.g. researches in physics, chemistry, mathematics etc.

 

(Descriptive Research study)

whose objective is factual find out new facts.

By nature descriptive.

Describe facts or events which happened previously.

e.g. research done in history.

 

 

Does not contribute a new knowledge in the fund of human knowledge but suggests new applications.

Improvement and modification in current practice.

e.g.  Improvement is as policy (existing) New application introduced in Internet banking

 

 

Type of Research:

  1. One-time research: Research is confined to a single time period.
  2. Longitudinal Research: Research is carried on over several time periods.
  3. Clinical Research : Case study methods or in depth approached to reach the basic casual relations.(Usually for diseases)
  4. Diagnostic Research: Usually go deep into causes of things or events that interest us using very small samples and very deep profiling data gathering devices.
  5. Exploratory Research: Development of hypothesis rather than their testing.
  6. Formalized Research: Are those with substantial structure and with specific hypothesis to be tested.
  7. Historical Research: To study events or ideas of the past, including the philosophy or persons and group at any remote point of time.
  8. Problem oriented Research: A researcher is free to pick up a problem and work on it.
  9. Decision oriented Research: is always for the need of decision maker and researcher in this case is not free to embark upon research according to this own inclination.
  10. Ex-post Facto Research:
  • Is systematic empirical enquiry based on a scientific and analytical examination of dependent and independent variables.
  • Researchers control on the behavior of independent variables is very weak and in many cases no control is possible.
  1. Laboratory or experimental Research:
  • Possibility of control over independent variables and isolating their influences for plausible explanation.
  • Usually help to discover relations under pure and contaminated conditions for known theories and models, physical sciences, social science theories.
  • Confined to laboratory experiments.
  1. Field investigation research:
  • Realistic situation in which one or more independent variables are manipulated by the experimenter/Researcher under as carefully controlled conditions as the situation will permit.
  1. Survey Research:
  • Methodology is expensive but the quantity of information makes it economical.
  • Through methods of personal interviews, indirect and oral investigations, mailed questionnaires.
  • Advantage of greater scope in sense that larger volume of information can be controlled from a very large population.
  1. Evaluation Research:
  • To evaluate program which have been already been implemented the objective being to realistically assess the impact of any such program.

Type:

  1. Concurrent evaluation.
  2. Phasic/periodic evaluation.
  3. Terminal evaluation.

 

Paradigm 

Paradigm is also described as “sets of beliefs that  guide action” (Guba, 1990, p.17)  which is embedded  in  all  educational research  (Brooke,  2013). “Paradigms are general framework or view points: literally „points from which to view‟. They provide ways of looking at life and are grounded in sets of assumptions about the nature of reality” (Babbie,1998). Paradigm indicate a pattern or model or typical example including cultural themes, worldviews, Ideologies, and mindsets

The concept was originated in late 15th century, via late Latin from Greek word “ paradeigma”, from “paradeiknunai”-‘show side by side,’ from para-‘beside’ + “deiknunai” -‘to show.’

Normal research is performed in accordance with a set of rules, concepts and procedures called a paradigm.

A paradigm is a basic belief system and theoretical framework with assumptions about

Ontology: Ontology refers to  “the  nature  of  our  beliefs  about  reality”. What kind of being is the   human being. Ontology deals with the question of what is real. The ontology is the reality of knowledge that exist and that the research wants to seek. Monism, pluralism, idealism, dualism, materialism is some of the ontological views that one can follow.

Epistemology: Epistemology refers to “the branch of philosophy that studies the nature of knowledge and the process by which knowledge is acquired and validated”. It is concerned with “the nature and forms [of knowledge], how it can be acquired and how communicated to other human beings”. It is the epistemological question that leads a researcher to debate “the possibility and desirability of objectivity, subjectivity, causality, validity, generalizability”.

Methodology :

  • Methodology is “an articulated, theoretically informed approach to the production of data”. It refers to the study and critical analysis of data production techniques.
  • It is the “strategy, plan of action, process or design” that informs one’s choice of research methods.
  • It “is concerned with the discussion of how a particular piece of research should be undertaken”.
  • It guides the researcher in deciding what type of data is required for a study and which data collection tools will be most appropriate for the purpose of his/her study.
  • It is the methodological question that leads the researcher to ask how the world should be studied.

Methods:

  • Methods are specific means of collecting and analysing data, such as questionnaires and open ended interviews.
  • What methods to use for a research project will depend on the design of that project and the researcher’s theoretical mindset.
  • However, it must be noted that use of methods does not need ontological and epistemological assumptions.

Types of research paradigm

1.POSITIVISM: It believes only knowledge gained through direct observation as factual and trustworthy. It emphasizes quantitative analysis over qualitative analysis. According to the positivist paradigm of exploring social reality, true knowledge is based on experience of senses and can be obtained by observation and experiment.

a.Determinism: means that since the events are determined by other circumstances, understanding of such casual links becomes essential to gain control and facilitate prediction.

b.Empiricism: pertains to researchers what collecting verifiable empirical evidences of theories or hypothesis by following a deductive approach, staying objective and independent from the study and concentrating on facts rather than human interests.

c.Parsimony: refers to the explanation of the phenomena in the most efficient way as possible.

d.Generality: is the process of generalizing the observation of the process of generalizing the observation of the phenomenon to the world at large.

Criticism of the positivist paradigm lead to the emergence of post-positivism, which “straddles both the positivist and interpretivist paradigms” (Grix, 2004, p. 86). Post-positivism is an attempt to address the weaknesses of the positivist paradigm. The ontological position of post-positivism is that of critical realism. It assumes a reality that exists independent of the observer, but which can only be apprehended imperfectly because of the complexity of social phenomena; it also recognizes the possibility of the researcher’s own beliefs and values affecting what is being observed. Defining characteristics of Positivism Research:

 

2.CONSTRUCTIVISM/INTERPRETIVISM: It developed as a critique of positivism in Social Sciences. It opposes the positivist idea that knowledge can only be generated through a scientific method and argues that it is rather constructed by the researcher it holds that knowledge and therefore all meaningful reality as such his constructed when information comes into contact with existing knowledge based on human experiences. It consists in researchers interpreting the elements of the study working on exemption that reality (given all socially constructed) can be unearthed only through social constructions such as language, consciousness, shared meanings, and instruments. Thus, it emphasizes qualitative analysis over quantitative analysis.

 

3.POST-POSITIVISM: It is an effective paradigm for social and educational research. It took shape as an attempt to overcome the limitations of the positivistic paradigm, which the researchers of social sciences and education felt, lacked in fulfilling their requirements as it relied on observable and empirical analytic facts. They devised post-positivism as a balanced combination of positivism and interpretivism approaches which focuses on researching issues in the context of experiences of the majority, declaring the opinion of the majority as their result.

 

4.PRAGMATISM: Pragmatism research philosophy accepts concepts to be relevant only if they support action. Pragmatics “recognize that there are many different ways of interpreting the world and undertaking research, that no single point of view can ever give the entire picture and that there may be multiple realities”. It adopts the modified philosophical assumptions between two extreme mutually exclusive paradigms of Positivism and Interpretivism.

 

5.TRANSFORMATIVE PARADIGM: The transformative paradigm is a framework of belief systems that directly engages members of culturally diverse groups with a focus on increased social justice. It focuses on the marginalized communities, analyses the power differentials that have effected the marginalization and applies the research findings to action directed at ending inconsistencies.

 

6.CRITICAL THEORY: It is a school of philosophy which challenges the dominant ways of exploring and explaining organizational phenomenon and offers alternative possibilities that include marginalized into the main stream.

 

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