Constructivist Paradigm In Research

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Over the past three decades, a significant transformation has occurred in the paradigms used by natural and social sciences to produce knowledge for development. A research paradigm is defined by Guba and Lincoln (1995) as the basic beliefs and worldviews about the nature of reality, knowledge and values. Based on this definition, Guba and Lincoln (2005) reclassified earlier categorized paradigms into positivism, post positivism, critical theories, constructivism and participatory. The evolution of research paradigms is underpinned mainly by differences on ontology, epistemology and values. To the social scientist, these differences matter, because as Kanbur and Shaffer (2006) indicated, it has practical implication for conceptualizing research…show more content…
Foremost, the positivist and post positivist idea that only standardized scientific methods must be used for research in all sciences seems to be oversimplified. For instance, Guba and Lincoln (1994) argue that in social science it is more acceptable to create knowledge through interaction between the researcher and the respondents than being discovered through objective observation. The approach of the positivist paradigms cannot be universally acceptable but may only find it convenient space in the natural sciences. Nevertheless, as Wills (2007) explained, constructivist do not always abandon the rules of the scientific methods, they rather recognize that whatever method used in research is subjective and can be imperfect. Constructivists even believe that an objective approach can be used to understand the subjective actions, beliefs and desires of people. (Schwandt T.A, 2000). The critical theories and participatory paradigms that share closer epistemological views with the constructivist paradigm are however, constrained by their theoretical scope of research. The critical theories paradigm focus is limited to local instances of unequal power relations, its negative effects and assisting those without power to acquire it (Wills, 2007). In the case of participatory paradigm, the focus is solely on studies where the researcher is an active participants and possess…show more content…
Values in this context embody the ideas, beliefs and morals of the researcher. The positivist and post positivist expect researcher’s values to be excluded from the study process as such biases will compromise the truth (Guba and Lincoln, 1994). In contrast, the critical theorist, constructivist and participatory proponents believe that the values of the researcher cannot be detached from the process. They argue that the ideas of the researcher are required to design, manage and create the research outcome, and that it is not acceptable to exclude values even if that were possible (Guba and Lincoln, 1994). Nevertheless, critical theorist, constructivist and participatory proponents are split by their differences on the researcher’s level of influence in the research process. Whilst critical theorists tend to exert more influence, constructivists want less, whereas participatory advocates place premium on equal level of influence with
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