Home > D844 > D844 Block One – Exercice 2 Question 2: What differing philosophical positions have underlain qualitative and quantitative research?

D844 Block One – Exercice 2 Question 2: What differing philosophical positions have underlain qualitative and quantitative research?

What differing philosophical positions have underlain qualitative and quantitative research? (Hammersley & Atkinson, 2007, p. 4-10)

Hammersley and Atkinson speak about a clash between two competing philosophical positions: positivism and naturalism (Hammersley & Atkinson, 2007, p. 4).

They consider the major tenets of  ‘positivism’ as the following :

  1. experiment results must be quantitavely measurable
  2. events are explained in  deductive fashion by appeal to universal laws
  3. the foundation of positive-science is observation
  4. the method is concerned by the testing of theories and hypotheses (see Descartes, 2001)
  5. the facts that the method and observations collect are theory-neutral
  6. the final aim is the search for universal laws

On the other hand, ‘naturalism’ is presented as:

  1. developed by the what called School of Chicago
  2. underpinning ideas coming from the holistic movement of thinking, following Melèse (1972), Wygotsky (2003) or Wiener’s (1952) systemic approach
  3. being an approach to understand cultural meanings
  4. focusing more on the relation between the sing and the significance and its evolution through time than on facts
  5. using a set of qualitatives tools
  6. not trying to sum up observation but recording events and observations with a huge sense of the details.

References

Descartes, R. (2001) Discourse on method, optics, geometry, and meteorology, Hackett Publishing.

Gindis, Vladimir S. Ageyev and Miller, Suzanne M. (2003) Vygotsky’s Educational Theory in Cultural Context (Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Hammersley, M. and Atkinson, P. (2007) Ethnography: Principles in practice, Taylor & Francis.

Mélèse, Jacques (1972) L’analyse modulaire des systèmes, Paris, Edition des Hommes et Techniques.

Wiener, Norbert (1952) Cybernétique et société, Deux Rives.

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