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Positivism and Interpretivism Response Essay

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Interpretivism suggests the research workers to decipher the essential features of the subject; thus this method accommodates personal concern into a research (Silverman 2007, p. 40). Accordingly, “interpretive researchers assume that access to reality (given or socially constructed) is only through social constructions such as language, consciousness, shared meanings, and instruments” (Myers 2008, p. 38). The advancement of the interpretive method is established upon the criticism of the positivist approach in communal sciences.

The interpretive research generally aims its attention towards the essence of the issue and will more likely use assorted means in order to demonstrate contrasting features of a subject (Johnson 2006, p. 134). Interpretivism is correlated with the reflective attitude towards idealism; moreover, it is adopted in order to combine disparate methods all at once, including “social constructionism, phenomenology, and hermeneutics” (Collins 2010, p. 38).

These methods deny the perspective of objectivists, which imply that meaning dwells upon the universe separately from consciousness. It specifies on the precise, uncommon and abnormal center of attraction and implies the participative connection between the subject of research and a researcher.

Positivism is founded on the assumption that science appears to be the singular means of discovering the veracity. “As a philosophy, positivism is in accordance with the empiricist view that knowledge stems from human experience. It has an atomistic, ontological view of the world as comprising discrete, observable elements and events that interact in a noticeable, determined and regular manner” (Collins 2010, p. 38).

Within the approach of positivism, the research worker is autonomous from the subject. Moreover, the theory of positivism generates absolute knowledge by focusing on the inexact, mediocre and typical (Patton 2002, p. 113). The subject of the positivist approach in considered to be solidly detached from the researcher, whose goal is to obtain clarification and substantial prognosis towards the subject.

Having observed the positivist and interpretive approaches of the researches, we can conclude that the most efficient method of the analysis is interpretivism. This could be explained by the variety of the approaches that are used, such as “unstructured interviews and participant observation that provides this type of data”, according to Weber (2004, p. 6).

The researches that choose the interpretive method of the research accept that they will appeal to be not only influential towards the research they are connected to but also affected by it. Moreover, the connection between the research and the researcher evolves instinctively and as anticipated. I and the other supporters of the interpretive research assume that it is crucial for the satisfactory analysis to provide an interpretation of activities by certain individuals.

Moreover, according to Weber (2004 p. 6), “excellent researchers simply choose a research method that fits their purposes and get on with the business of doing their research. They understand both explicitly and implicitly the criteria that their colleagues will use to evaluate their research”.

Despite the fact that there are various similarities and distinctions in these two approaches, as well as the advantages and disadvantages, some researchers believe that interpretive approach is better only in those cases where the method of the analysis is more closely connected to the issue or the subject matter of the research.

As I have already said, I will more likely choose the interpretive approach for another reason: the process of the analysis that holds my attention would likely be connected to the field that I am acquainted with and, as a result, I would provide a significant impact on the research.


Collins, H 2010, Creative research: The theory and practice of research for the creative industries, AVA Publishing, London.

Johnson, P 2006, ‘Evaluating qualitative management research: Towards a contingent criteriology’, International Journal of Management, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 131-156.

Myers, M 2008, Qualitative research in business & management, SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks.

Patton, M 2002, Qualitative research & evaluation methods, SAGE Publications, Newbury Park.

Silverman, D 2007, A very short, fairly interesting and reasonably cheap book about qualitative research, SAGE Publications, London.

Weber, R 2004, ‘The rhetoric of positivism versus interpretivism: A personal view’, MIS Quarterly, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 3-12.

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