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Philosophy of science looks at the basis, approaches and connotations of science as well as the applicability and demerits of science (Williams C. , 2007). Research, on the other hand refers to the process of collecting, analyzing and consumption of data (Williams, 2007).
This short essay examines Creswell’s alignment of philosophies of science with particular research approaches as well as a critique on the same alignment. In addition, I seek to align and justify the reason for aligning of philosophies of science with other approaches.
Alignment of Philosophies of Science with Research Approaches
Creswell aligns empiricism with quantitative research approach (Williams, 2007). According to him, the methods used in quantitative research point to the assumptions of an empirical method. This is true bearing in mind that both methods emphasize the use of experience and evidence. This involves collection of data and consequent analyzing of the data so as to prove or disapprove existing knowledge (Williams, 2007).
Further, the division of quantitative approach into three classes affirms that Creswell is right. Quantitative approach is divided into descriptive, causal comparative and experimental approaches.
Descriptive approach looks at the situation as it is and involves the description of characteristics of a particular happening. Further, based on observation, descriptive approach identifies the characteristics of a particular instance or two or more instances (Williams, 2007).
Experimental approach involves the investigation of a treatment to an interposition into the study group and then gauges the result of the treatment (Williams, 2007). If an experimental design is proper, it will produce a methodical approach to quantitative collection of data which involves mathematical models during analysis of the collected data (Williams, 2007)..
Causal comparative investigates the cause-effect relationship of the dependent and independent variables (Williams, 2007). The comparative design approach affords the researcher a chance to explore the connection between independent variables and their bearing on the dependent variables (Williams, 2007).
It follows that, interpretivism is rightly aligned with qualitative approach to research due to the fact that in some cases, the two concepts are used interchangeably (Williams M., 2000). All in all, qualitative approach takes into consideration deliberate use of describing, annotations and clarification of data so collected (Williams M., 2000).
Interpretivism is basically looking at happenings and interpreting them according to own understanding. Both approaches involve generalisation of ideas (Williams M., 2000).
Mixed methods approach to research has so much similarity with the critical theory in philosophy of science. Mixed methods approach combines elements of quantitative and qualitative approaches in research. Researchers here use both numerical and narrative data to minimize the weaknesses of the other two approaches (Williams C., 2007).
Critical theory, as the name suggests, critiques the society and culture by utilizing both numbers and narratives of that particular society (Mertens, 2010).
in an instance where researchers want to use mixed methods, they ought to apply closed-ended questions in a questionnaire to realize quantitative data and use open ended questions in an interview to realize qualitative data (Williams C. , 2007).
In conclusion, Philosophy of Science and research methods should compliment rather than conflict. As much as research involves collection, analyzing and application of data, researchers have to go beyond this and engage further in in-depth questioning of what the data so collected means. Lastly, for data to be worthwhile, both quantitative and qualitative elements must be used so that the results reflect an all round approach to research.
Mertens, D. M. (2010). Philosophy in Mixed Methods. International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches , 4: 9-18.
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Williams, C. (2007). Research Methods. Journal of Business & Economic Research , 65-72.
Williams, M. (2000). Interpretivism and Generalisation. Sociology , 209-224.