Research traditions in social sciences and their methodological rationales

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4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The aim of this article is to review and describe the most common research paradigms in social sciences in order to then use this knowledge to inform the choice of research methods. Paradigms are defined here as traditions generated by the diversity of ways of understanding reality and the associated beliefs about what knowledge is and how it can be created. Research traditions can be characterised by the coherence in the articulation of their ontology, epistemology and the corresponding methodologies. The traditions studied here are Logical Empiricism, Constructivism, Conceptualism (or Productive Science in the Aristotelian tradition), and Phenomenology. For each one, the corresponding methodologies are described, their rationales are presented and detailed and some methodological developments are explained, with a special focus on those most often used in Psychology and Education. Because the advancement of social sciences requires integrating findings into broader theoretical frameworks, the article argues in favour of the need to explicitly include paradigmatic and methodological rationales in the justification of the choice of research method. It is seen as a necessary step in establishing the relevance of research and to facilitate the integration of perspectives. The need for this awareness increases when the scientific community has diverse backgrounds and/or the scope of a field is wide or interdisciplinary. Additionally, integral approaches require the bringing together of research from a range of paradigms. In these cases, the explicit presenting of this rationale is a reasonable requirement to further ensure the quality of a piece of research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-20
Number of pages12
JournalAloma
Volume36
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Aristotle
  • Constructivism
  • Epistemology
  • Logical empiricism
  • Methodology
  • Ontology
  • Phenomenology
  • Productive science
  • Research traditions

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