This unique book explains the central role that research paradigms play in the design and conduct of social research. The authors argue that social research should not just describe or confirm a social problem but should seek to find an explanation for it – and to do so requires research with 'eyes philosophically wide open'.
Important philosophical and practice elements of three widely recognized paradigms – Neo-Positive, Interpretive and Critical Realist – are carefully elaborated and their use in action illustrated with detailed examples. The authors show that the philosophical assumptions of a chosen paradigm must match those embedded in a characterization of a research problem and its context. This paradigm orientation is shown to be fundamental to appropriately framing a problem, formulating research questions, deciding on a logic of inquiry and selecting and using methods to investigate it.
Ultimately, an appropriate paradigm orientation to social research provides a dispassionate, rigorous and effective basis for the production of new social scientific knowledge. Following on from Blaikie's Approaches to Social Enquiry and Designing Social Research, this innovative book will be invaluable to upper-level and research students, their lecturers and supervisors, and researchers across the social sciences.
Table of Contents
1 Fundamental Choices in Social Research
2 Road Maps for Research
3 Principles of Neo-positive Research
4 Two Illustrations of the Neo-positive Research Paradigm in Action
5 Principles of Interpretive Research
6 Two Illustrations of the Interpretive Research Paradigm in Action
7 Principles of Critical Realist Research
8 Two Illustrations of the Critical Realist Research Paradigm in Action
9 Multiple Paradigm Research
10 And Another Thing É
Appendix: Review Questions