Post-Positivist Approaches to Research
Ryan, Anne B. (2006) Post-Positivist Approaches to Research. In: Researching and Writing your thesis: a guide for postgraduate students. MACE: Maynooth Adult and Community Education, pp. 12-26.
This chapter outlines the philosophical thinking behind this book. Take your time reading it and don't be put off if you encounter words and terms that are unfamiliar to you. These terms will become clearer as you read on. The chapter outlines the background and assumptions for many of the techniques and suggestions put forward in later chapters. Without some knowledge of philosophy or context, technique can become an empty process. Philosophy provides principles that can act as a guide when procedural advice does not address a particular issue. You might like to read this chapter at the start of your thesis process, But it is likely that you will dip into it from time to time, as certain questions arise out of the process of researching and writing the thesis. In this chapter, we briefly examine positivist ideas about research: what they are, where they come from, why they dominate the general view of research and why there is a need to move beyond their limitations. We go on to discuss the alternatives that exists for doing social research, which are associated with the post-positivist stance.
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