Friday, May 4, 2012

Post-Positivism and Social Science.

 In the social sciences, the selection of research design and its constituent elements is an important phase of the research process.  The choice of research design is subject to a number of theoretical and methodological considerations.  Within the discipline of sociology, there exists a high level of theoretical and methodological pluralism with competing approaches to the study of society being pursued simultaneously which often gives rise to contention and contestation over the relative value of approaches. While quantitative research has relatively well-established principles of evaluation, appraisal of qualitative research is highly contentious. Carter and Little (2007) have suggested that consistency of research design is an important criterion via which to evaluate qualitative research:  epistemology, methodology and methods have to be internally consistent in order to form a solid research design. Adoption of a particular epistemological stance can affect researcher’s methodological choices, as some forms of epistemology are inconsistent with certain methodologies.  In view of this problem and to demonstrate the logic of research design, the constituent parts of epistemology, theory, methodology and methods will be given further exposition and organized via the principles of post-positivist epistemology into a consistent model of research design.