Blaike Norman's Approaches To Social Enquiry

854 words - 3 pages

There are different ways in which researchers can use in order to establish the theoretical hypothesis they sought to establish. Before setting out on a research, the researcher must choose a research problem, the question to be addressed by the research, the strategy to be employed in the research, establish any assumption or hypothesis evolving around the research problem and the outcome expected.
According to Blaike Norman in his book the ‘Approaches to social enquiry’, there are about ten research paradigms that have been classified into classical and contemporary research paradigms. The classical research paradigms are; Positivism, Critical Rationalism, Classical Hermeneutics, and Interpretivism. The question that these research paradigms seek to answer is if the methods of natural science can be applied to the social sciences? Positivism as a classical research paradigm invented in 1970 by Sociologist Comte identified that positivism was based on the thesis of naturalism and was characterized by phenomenalism (uniqueness of experience that relies on scientific knowledge), nominalism (asserts that notions on which observation cannot be done have no existence unless it is a name), atomism (object of experience is discrete and independent) general laws (avers that scientific theories are a bunch of law-like statements), value judgments and normative statements (facts and values must be separated; value judgment has no pragmatic content of validity, verification (how to settle the truth or falsity of the scientific statement), and the last characteristic is causation which asserts that there is no causation in nature; only constant coincidences. Thus in summary, positivism approves that methods of natural science can be utilized in the social science sphere. Criticism of the paradigm is that it assumes that there is order in reality. The second classical research paradigm is critical rationalism that was propounded on by Popper in 1972 whereby he reiterated that in search of the truth, it is hopeless to establish if the theories are true and the recommended procedure is to eliminate the false facts, thus the paradigm accepts partly and partly rejects the natural science approach and subject the methodology to further tests since there are some tentative solutions to certain problems. The third classical research paradigm is Classical Hermeneutics where proponent such as Dilthey asserted that understanding should be the ultimate aim of human sciences and thus natural science methods cannot be used in social science as there is no relevance as what is involved in social science is interpretation of texts. Proponents of this paradigm sought to combat the inabilities of articulate understanding of texts; a practical example is the experience undergone by one community in grasping the culture of another community....

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