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Research Nature, Inquiry, Data, Hypotheses, Method Essay


Scientific and philosophical underpinnings form the basis of research paradigms that have shaped educational research. Scientific underpinnings comprise of methodology, epistemology, and ontology of research, which define the method of inquiry in research (Shavelson & Towne, 2002).

The scientific underpinnings are central in research as they follow the empirical paradigm. In contrast, positivism and realism are philosophical underpinnings, which hold that objects exist as independent entities because they are devoid of researchers’ senses or conscience. According to Scotland (2012), the nature of the philosophical underpinnings determines epistemology, methodology, and ontology of scientific underpinnings. This implies that positivism and realism are philosophical underpinnings that influence scientific inquiry in research.

The approach to the inquiry can be either induction or deduction. The inductive inquiry is a form of reasoning where researchers examine a case study and explain it using a general theory. In essence, inductive inquiry broadens inquiry from a case study to the general theory. In the inductive inquiry, researchers study a phenomenon, investigate trends or patterns, and provide generalization (Lodico, Spaulding, & Voegtle, 2010).

In contrast, the deductive inquiry is a form of reasoning where researchers narrow their investigation from general theory to a specific phenomenon. Fundamentally, deductive inquiry enables researchers to examine general theories and formulate testable hypotheses, which the findings can confirm or reject (Blaikie, 2009). In this view, theoretical models and hypotheses form the basis of interpreting the findings of deductive research.

Two of the many beliefs about the truth are positivism and empiricism. According to Wahyuni (2012), positivism postulates that objects are independent of social factors that are within the sphere of researchers and observable phenomena provide credible data that form epistemology. In this view, positivism holds that researchers do not influence a given phenomenon, as they are passive observers. On the other hand, empiricism holds that epistemology in research is a product of sensory experience rather than reasoning, which contrasts the belief of positivism. Empiricism holds that researchers gain knowledge through their sensual experiences (Tudor, 2013). This means that the senses are integral in researchers who believe in empiricism.

Researchers usually collect data in the form of numeric or narrative data. Numeric data is a type of data that exists in the form of numerical. Research who conduct quantitative studies collect numerical data and utilize them in performing descriptive analysis and hypothesis testing (Christensen, Johnson, & Turner, 2011). Numeric data allow researchers to perform diverse statistical analyses using diverse mathematical models. Comparatively, narrative data is a qualitative form of data. Qualitative data characterize properties or attributes of a certain phenomenon of interest (Neuman, 2011). Researchers interpret narrative data by deriving significant attributes or properties.

Researchers can use data to test hypotheses and theories or generate hypotheses and build theories. Testing of hypotheses and theories occur when researchers conduct a study that seeks to prove or disprove existing hypotheses and theories (Shi & Tao, 2008).

After testing hypotheses and theories, researchers can either affirm or dispute early hypotheses and theories. In contrast, when researchers identify a problem, they generate hypotheses and build theories. Researchers formulate hypotheses and test them repeatedly in the process of building a theory (Kuhn, 2012). This implies that a theory is a product of many hypotheses that corroborate each other.

Mixed methods are advantageous in research because of the following two rationales. The first rationale of using mixed methods is to enhance validity and reliability through corroboration, convergence, and correspondence of results (Greene, 2007). The second rationale for using mixed methods is to expand the breadth of inquiry to enhance understanding of complex phenomena (Lisle, 2011).

References

Blaikie, N. (2009). Designing Social Research. New York: Polity.

Christensen, B., Johnson, B., & Turner, A. (2011). Research methods, design, and analysis (11 ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Greene, J. (2007). Mixed Methods in Social Inquiry. London: John Wiley & Sons.

Kuhn, T. (2012). The Structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

Lisle, J. (2012). The benefits and challenges of mixing methods and methodologies. Caribbean Curriculum, 18(1), 87-120.

Lodico, M., Spaulding, D., & Voegtle, K. (2010). Methods in Educational Research: From Theory to Practice. London: John Wiley & Sons.

Neuman, L. (2011). Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Scotland, J. (2012). Exploring the philosophical underpinnings of research: Relating ontology and epistemology to the methodology and methods of scientific, interpretive, and critical research paradigms. English language Teaching, 5(9), 9-16.

Shavelson, R., & Towne, L. (2002). Scientific Research in Education. New York: National Academies Press.

Shi, N., & Tao, J. (2008). Statistical hypothesis testing: Theory and methods. New York: World Scientific.

Tudor, A. (2013). Beyond Empiricism: Philosophy of Science in Sociology. New York: Routledge.

Wahyuni, D. (2012). The research design maze: Understanding paradigms, cases, methods, and methodologies. Journal of Applied Management Accounting Research, 10(1), 69-80.

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IvyPanda. "Research Nature, Inquiry, Data, Hypotheses, Method." August 8, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/research-nature-inquiry-data-hypotheses-method/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Research Nature, Inquiry, Data, Hypotheses, Method." August 8, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/research-nature-inquiry-data-hypotheses-method/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Research Nature, Inquiry, Data, Hypotheses, Method'. 8 August.

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