Epistemology In Development Research

1489 Words6 Pages
This paper highlights some principles and theories of research paradigm mainly focus on epistemological issues in the development research arenas and critical assessment of the role of researchers (positionality/value/choice) in that process and I presents my position (i.e. constructivist epistemology) in the debate. Finally, concluding remarks will be made.
As many studies have shown that development research paradigm was highly dominated by positivistic approaches (Sumner and Tribe, 2004). The trend in the research environment was characterized by the predomination of standard methods that are imposed top - down (Chambers, 2010). The participation of social scientists that are not economists was highly limited in the research process.
…show more content…
I begin my discussion by spelling out what mean by epistemology. The concept of epistemology is related to "the relationship between the knower and what can be known" (Guba and Lincoln, 1994: 108). Epistemology is defined as " [...] [T]he branch of philosophy that is concerned with the nature, origin, scope of knowledge and 'how we know what we know' " (Sumner and Tribe, 2004: 11).
In respective of epistemology from my understanding and as many literatures also indicated mostly positivist researchers operate under different epistemological assumptions from constructivist researchers. For instance, positivist approach believes that knowledge is only produced through scientific approach. And reality is independent of any phenomena; facts are established by taking apart a phenomenon to examine its component parts. Yet from my experiences I argue that the alternative view i.e. social constructivist approaches is best because they believe that the best way to understand any phenomenon is to view it in its context. They see all quantification as limited in nature,
…show more content…
A development researcher in the positivist tradition makes generalizations assuming transferability to other contexts (Sumner and Tribe, 2004). The problem with this is that it assumes uniformity in contexts, which is unrealistic in real life. While the alternative views of constructivist believe societies are made up of various rules and norms that make them unique. There are high levels of idiosyncrasies among arrangements at the local level (de Hert et al, 2004). In aware of there is no homogeneity in the nature of social environments, the constructivists try to make generalizations by only hinges on the specific context they work on (Sumner and Tribe, 2004). The source of validity for constructivists is more about ensuring the manifestation of views and perspectives of the different stakeholders within the research context instead of its ability to transfer the results to other settings (Chambers,

More about Epistemology In Development Research

Open Document