Explain the philosophical paradigm underlying the recommended approach. Evaluate the required articles for this week and describe the assumptions the instructors might have to set aside as they enter into a qualitative research study.
The philosophical paradigm underlying the recommended approach to qualitative research is largely grounded in interpretivism and constructivism. Interpretivism emphasizes the importance of understanding social phenomena through the subjective meanings attributed to them by individuals. Constructivism, on the other hand, posits that knowledge is actively created by individuals through their interactions with the social world. These paradigms prioritize the exploration and understanding of individual perspectives, experiences, and meanings, recognizing that reality is socially constructed and subjective.
In qualitative research, the focus is on exploring the richness and complexity of human experiences, behaviors, and perspectives, rather than on the application of generalized theories or quantitative measures. This approach aims to capture the depth and intricacies of the social world, acknowledging that meanings and understandings are context-specific and shaped by individuals’ cultural, historical, and social backgrounds.
To evaluate the assumptions that instructors might have to set aside as they enter into a qualitative research study, it is important to consider the nature of qualitative research itself. Compared to quantitative research, qualitative research allows for a more in-depth exploration of phenomena and a greater emphasis on the researcher’s role in the data collection and analysis process. As such, some assumptions that instructors may need to set aside include:
1. Objectivity: In quantitative research, objectivity is often valued, with researchers striving to minimize their influence on the data and to obtain reliable and valid results. In qualitative research, however, the emphasis is on subjectivity and the researcher’s reflexivity. Instructors may need to set aside the assumption that they can maintain complete objectivity and instead embrace their role as a subjective researcher, acknowledging their biases, perspectives, and interpretations that inevitably shape the research process.
2. Generalizability: In quantitative research, it is common to strive for generalizability, where findings from a sample can be applied to a larger population. In qualitative research, the focus is on understanding the unique and context-bound nature of experiences and meanings, rather than generalizing findings to a broader population. Instructors may need to set aside the assumption that their findings will be generalizable and instead focus on providing rich descriptions and contextual insights.
3. Control: In quantitative research, researchers often aim to control as many variables as possible to isolate the effects of a specific variable of interest. In qualitative research, however, the emphasis is on understanding complexity and allowing for emergent findings. Instructors may need to set aside the assumption that they can control all aspects of the research process and instead be open to unexpected insights and unanticipated directions that may arise during the study.
4. Pre-determined hypotheses: In quantitative research, researchers often start with pre-determined hypotheses to be tested. In qualitative research, the emphasis is on exploration and generating hypotheses or research questions based on inductive reasoning. Instructors may need to set aside the assumption that they should enter the research study with a set of pre-determined hypotheses and instead embrace the iterative and emergent nature of qualitative research.
By setting aside these assumptions, instructors can approach qualitative research with a more open and flexible mindset, allowing for the rich exploration of individual perspectives and experiences. This will enable them to delve deeper into the complexities of the research topic and provide a more detailed and nuanced understanding of the phenomenon under study.