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What Is the Positivist Approach?

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All else is metaphysics. The problem with social research is that it is not easy to get solid and repeatable results, as we are such a complex and variable species. In the history of social understanding, Positivism originated out of the French Enlightenment, with French philosopher Auguste Comte, who sought to the replace the 'brainpower approach' of Rationalism by leveraging the principles of the natural sciences such as Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

At the time of Comte, science was having a huge impact and was steadily replacing religion as the key authority for knowledge about what was true or false. When something is pronounced 'scientific' then it is generally held to be verifiable. This creates a difficulty in psychology as people are not as predictable as apples.

The roots of Positivism lie particularly with Empiricism , which works only with observable facts, seeing that beyond this is the realm of logic and mathematics. The basic principle of Positivism is that all factual knowledge is based on the "positive" information gained from observable experience, and that any ideas beyond this realm of demonstrable fact are metaphysical.

Only analytic statements are allowed to be known as true through reason alone. Thus 'Roses are flowers' is analytic, whilst 'Roses are fragrant' is synthetic and requires evidence. Tenet Meaning Naturalism The principles of the natural sciences should be used for social science. Phenomenalism Only observable phenomena provide valid information. Nominalism Words of scientific value have fixed and single meanings.

The existence of a word does not imply the existence of what it describes. Atomism Things can be studied by reducing them to their smallest parts and the whole is the sum of the parts. Scientific laws The goal of science is to create generalised laws which are useful for such as prediction.

Facts and values Facts are to sought. Values have no meaning for science. Positivism seeks empirical regularities , which are correlations between two variables. This does not need to be causal in nature, but it does allow laws to be defined and predictions made.

It has been used to justify inequality eg. In one culture drugs use in teenage is rare and any occurrence of a teenager using drugs means that person is a criminal as well. In the other culture the use of drugs might be common in teenagers and therefore a drug user does not necessarily qualify to be a criminal as well. For example, a hypothesis is tested that use of drugs in adolescents result in juvenile crimes and it is proved to be true now this hypothesis can be true for one culture and one society but to think the same for another culture might not be true.

In other situations, the researcher can use both quantitative and qualitative model in one study which is called as the mixed-method research. The positivists use empirical, rational and hypothesis-based methodologies in research. They test hypothesis and theories and add to the available knowledge in that area.

The most common methodologies used in positivist paradigm includes the following. Tags paradigms paradigms of research positivism positivist positivist paradigm research paradigms. Constructivism is an approach to conducting the research just like positivism.

This approach is one …. Your email address will not be published. Previous What is a Research Paradigm?


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Positivism belongs to epistemology which can be specified as philosophy of knowing, whereas methodology is an approach to knowing. As a philosophy.

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Positivism and Interpretivism are the two basic approaches to research methods in Sociology. Positivist prefer scientific quantitative methods, while Interpretivists prefer .

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Positivism in general refers to philosophical positions that emphasize empirical data and scientific methods. This tradition holds that the world consists of regularities, that these regularities are detectable, and, thus, that the researcher can infer knowledge about the real world by observing it. Home» Foundations» Philosophy of Research» Positivism & Post-Positivism. Let's start our very brief discussion of philosophy of science with a simple distinction between epistemology and methodology. The term epistemology comes from the Greek word epistêmê, their term for knowledge. In simple terms, epistemology is the philosophy of.

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Some researchers prefer a combination of quantitative and qualitative research for a post-positivist approach. This assumes that social research is value-laden, and a mix of methodologies creates a more holistic picture of research results to solve complex social problems. Background There are three commonly known philosophical research paradigms used to guide research methods and analysis: positivism, interpretivism and critical theory. Being able to justify the decision to adopt or reject a philosophy should be part of the basis of research.