According to the definition given by Gliner and Morgan (2000) “paradigm is a way of thinking about and conducting a research. It is not strictly a methodology, but more of a philosophy that guides how the research is to be conducted (p.17)”. Research paradigm and philosophy comprises various factors such as individual’s mental model, his way of seeing thing, different perceptions, variety of beliefs towards reality, etc. This concept influences the beliefs and value of the researchers, so that he can provide valid arguments and terminology to give reliable results.
Easter-by-Smith et al, (2006) have discussed about three different components of research paradigm or three ways to think about research philosophy.
>> Three Components of Research Paradigm (Source: Easter-by-Smith et al 2006)
Epistemology » Common parameters and assumptions those are associated with the excellent way to investigate the nature of the real world.
Ontology » Common assumptions that are created to understand the real nature of the society
Methodology » Combination of different techniques that are used by the researcher to investigate different situations.
It is necessary for the researcher to understand the philosophical position of research issues to understand the different combination of research methods. There are mainly three type of paradigm to understand the reality, Positivism, Interpretivism and realism.
The concept of Positivism is directly associated with the idea of objectivism. In this kind of philosophical approach, scientists give their viewpoint to evaluate social world with the help of objectivity in place of subjectivity (Cooper and Schindler 2006). According to this paradigm, researchers are interested to collect general information and data from a large social sample instead of focusing details of research. According to this position, researcher’s own beliefs have no value to influence the research study. The positivism philosophical approach is mainly related with the observations and experiments to collect numeric data (Easter-by-Smith et al 2006).
Interpretivism can be referred as the Social Constructionism in the field of management research. According to this philosophical approach research give importance to their beliefs and value to give adequate justification for a research problem (Easterby- Smith et al. 2006). With the help of this philosophical, researchers focus to highlight the real facts and figures according to the research problem. This kind of philosophical approach understand specific business situation. In this approach, researchers use small sample and evaluate them in detail to understand the views of large people (Kasi 2009).
This research philosophy mainly concentrates in the reality and beliefs that are already exist in the environment. In this philosophical approach, two main approaches are direct and critical realism (McMurray, Pace and Scott 2004). Direct reality means, what an individual feels, see, hear, etc. On the other hand, in critical realism, individuals argue about their experiences for a particular situation (Sekaran and Bougie 2010). This is associated with the situation of social constructivism, because individual tries to prove his beliefs and values.
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