Foundations of social research (Where do I start? ( Each theoretical…
Foundations of social research
Crotty, M. (1998). Introduction: The Research Process. The foundations of social research : meaning and perspective in the research process. St Leonards, NSW, Allen & Unwin, 1998.
"assumptions shape for us the meaning of research questions, the purposiveness of research methodologies, and the interpretability of research findings"
"Every piece of research is unique and calls for a unique methodology"
Where do I start?
Each theoretical perspective "embodies a certain understanding of what is entailed in knowing"
Subjectivism - "meaning does not come out of an interplay between subject and object but is imposed on the object by the subject"
Constructionism - "meaning is not discovered, but constructed"
Objectivism - "meaning and therefore meaningful reality, exists as apart from the operation of any consciousness"
Each methodology comes with a "philosophical stance" and assumptions. You need to understand these assumptions, acknowledge them, and deal with them.
Based on the methods you choose, there will likely be a corresponding methodology that aligns with that method. This is an opportunity to review your methods and question whether you have chosen the right method to answer the question.
"Describe the concrete techniques or procedures we plan to use."
Epistemology informs theoretical perspective, informs methodology, informs methods. (See Fig 1)
Some form of constructionism is normally the basis of the epistemology for most social sciences
Need to start with two questions
"What methodologies will we be employing?"
"How do we justify this choice"?
End up with four questions:
"What methods do we propose to use?
"What methodology governs our choice and use of methods?
"What theoretical perspective lies behind the methodology in question?
"What epistemology informs this theoretical perspective?"
What are our assumptions and our theoretical perspective?
"What is the question we seek to answer?"
Crotty provides a "scaffolding" "to provide a sense of stability and direction"
"Methodologies and methods... appear more a maze than as pathways to orderly research"
"terminology is far from consistent in research literature and social science texts"