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Reflections on Methodological Issues

Corbett, M ORCID: 0000-0001-9617-4643 and Kember, DR ORCID: 0000-0002-4780-6533 2018 , 'Reflections on Methodological Issues', in D Kember and M Corbett (eds.), Structuring the Thesis: Matching Method, Paradigm, Theories and Findings , Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd, Singapore, pp. 389-407.

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The book contains an extensive set of chapters which explain why aresearch student’s thesis has used a structure differing from the conventional onedeveloped to suit the scientific method. The researchers explain how their findings,methodological approaches, paradigmatic leanings and the theories utilised guidedtheir alternative structures. A common characteristic is that none of the researchstudents use the scientific method, which is why the conventional structure wasunsuitable. In this chapter, we reflect on the scientific method to see why it isunsuited to social science research (and indeed not adopted by much scientificresearch) and the alternative directions which have been taken. We define thescientific method as a linear positivist approach which proceeds from a well-definedquestion or hypothesis, substantiated by a literature survey, which is then tested.The problem with this positivist approach for the social sciences is that research inthese disciplines deals with complex ill-defined issues, which are often so messythat research students find it difficult initially to formulate research questions. Theirresearch, therefore, takes the form of a voyage of discovery. Interpretive researchersrecognised the limitations of the scientific method and moved towards more naturalistic forms of research. In the early stages, at least, this tended to implymovement from quantitative to qualitative research. The chapters in the booksuggest that over time there has been a degree of shift in interpretive researchaiming to derive novel theory, grounded in the data, to interpret a limited case.Many of the researchers in this collection interpret their results in terms ofwell-established theories.

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Corbett, M and Kember, DR
Publisher: Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd
DOI / ID Number: 10.1007/978-981-13-0511-5_39
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Copyright 2018 Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.

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