What is research? Is the search for the paranormal (ghosts) research? How so?
How people encounter the world around them
How you carry out the encounter
The story you end up telling about the encounter
What is quantitative research?
The world is ‘out there’ waiting to be discovered.
Data can be gathered that will allow us to predict outcomes with some
The ‘rules of the game’ are stable, so we can establish clear ‘facts’.
The researcher observes from outside the game so as not to disturb the
‘reality’ and ‘facts’
We say this research is quantitative because it often relies on numbers
What is qualitative research?
The world is ‘in here’ and we must engage with it. We may alter that world
when we do so.
The focus is on the significance of a phenomenon rather than its ‘truth’.
The impression we get of the world is our own and may differ from that of
The data we gather may lead to understanding but not to prediction.
Action may cause change
We say this research is qualitative because it often relies on attributes
What is a paradigm?
A philosophical and theoretical framework of a scientific school or discipline within
which theories, laws, and generalizations and the experiments performed in support
of them are formulated; broadly: a philosophical or theoretical framework of any kind
What is a paradigm shift?
What is a research paradigm?
A set of choices about:
– Ontology – nature of reality
What’s out there to know? What is the nature of the reality to be investigated?
Is the world a stable place awaiting discovery (a set of communicative practices),
or is it an unstable place in which we intervene when we do research (a set of
– Epistemology – if/how reality can be known
What and how can we know about that reality? (Epistemology)
Is it possible to uncover the truth? Or do we only ever form opinions about the
significance of a phenomenon?
– Methodology – how data is gathered and analyzed
How can we go about acquiring that knowledge? Is it best to gather statistics? Or should we gather our impressions?
– Representation – the story we tell
How do we represent the knowledge we produce? Paint a picture? Make a
graph? Numbers? Words?
Our answers to these questions will determine the sort of research that we do, and
are what separates the sciences, social sciences, humanities and arts.
Define each of the terms in this chart and then fill in the blanks.
Positivism Anti-Positivism Post-Positivism
Critical Theory et.ANot to cover in the course
Why is it useful to know about research paradigms?
Evaluating other people’s work
Situating your own arguments
Thinking more clearly
“Reality is singular, a priori and objective”
The truth is out there to be discovered.
Goal: Prediction & Control
Foundationalist: the world exists independently of our knowledge of it. Positivism
Searches for ‘the truth’ and ‘law-like generalizations’
Seeks to remove bias from explanations
Uses deductive methodology to eliminate incorrect hypothesis
Explanations rely on ‘social facts,’ ideal types, categories
Social facts are approximations of a complex world
Since explanations rely on these social facts, they can never be
accurate, so the project is flawed
It is impossible to be unbiased – we are all always ‘biased’
Removing values and beliefs from research is dehumanizing
Why did Prof. Reilly start with positivism?
Metaphysics versus Science
Enlightenment and Scientism
Can be seem as in 3 circumstances
Positivism was a reaction against Christian metaphysics of the Middle Ages in Europe.
Explain. What did we gain from this shift? What did we lose from this shift?
Explanations are based on the argumentation
What is the scientific method?
What is the link between the scientific method and deduction?
Scientific Method is based on deduction.
Theory Hypothesis Oberservation Confirmation
If you don’t eliminate the other possible variables, you don’t know it’s the fact that X
causes Y A theory of Causal Regularities
Who says what to whom, with that result?
A fact that you have to reduce things on variables, (focus on X, focus on Y)
Reduce complexity down to this very simple variable
What is the genius of the scientific method? (I.e. what is it designed to do and what is
it designed to protect against?)
Search for facts and the laws that account for them / connect them causally
Prediction (if you can predict then you truly understand)
Control (if you truly understand then you can control)
What did Lowery and De Fleur mean by the search for the magic keys? Why do
researchers, such as the ones discussed in Simpson’s work, want to find them?
What are social facts? What is their significance? Are social facts necessarily? Are
You could apply nism
Review the law of the society
There are certain facts are true in all society, and we can use them in our
Can identify social facts and XXX, we can find out the relationship between
Tries to find out what makes society healthy
Raised by Jewish, but not religious at all
Study the suicide rate: the stronger social control (catholic) created a
In catholic cannot commit suicide
Biases All are based on ASSUMPTION
Mechanisms (Causes and Effects)
Separation of knowledge from experience/being
A reality out there awaiting discovery
Data can be dispassionate and researchers objective
Understanding and control rest on prediction, which in turn rests on
Average cases as representative
Is positivism inherently flawed?
Since explanations rely on these social facts, they can never be accurate, so
the project is flawed
We have a time that we totally believe in science (e.g., used to totally believe
what a doctor says, because he is a scientist)
Was found in the split between emotion and belief
To carry assumption of what are able to do
The only authentic knowledge is based in positive verification Knowledge claims can be tested through empirical means – especially
Knowledge claims cannot be proven through argumentation
according to positivism, the only authentic knowledge is based in positive
have to back up the stories on the observation
can’t just say the hypothesis, have to come up the evidences
From note: Positivism in CMNS studies
YouTube of Baker
our lives are databases
they find you in the data, and predicts our behaviors, determined your
They used to focus on science, engineering, etc.
Now they have key to our data, so now come to our world and take the
The privacy Question
We don’t really have that much privacy. (e.g., small town, people gossip)
machine are processing the data, not the people looking at our behavior
if the machine points out us, then the people 才 look at us
It’s impossible to avoid (don’t use phone, internater, cash…etc.)
the people can now look at the certain readers
Media is cutting out the population, find out who work for them
The whole industry is overrun by the numerity
There is no objective ‘truth’.
Realities are plural, simultaneous and local.
They are social constructed. They are emergent, collaborative and symbolic.
Anti-Foundationlist: the world is our knowledge of it.
Uses deconstruction to demonstrate the coercive power of categories
Seeks understanding instead of explanation
Understanding is created through interpretation – but this is a highly
personal undertaking, which leads to relativism
In order to overcome the problem of relativism, engages in the study of