Jun 10, 2015

Guba, E. G., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1994). Competing paradigms in qualitative research. Handbook of qualitative research, 2(163-194).

Article pages: 13
In this article, Guba and Lincoln outline the differences between four alternative paradigms in qualitative research. These are positivism, post-positivism, critical theory (and related paradigms, and constructivism.

The articles suggests that there are important differences between these four paradigms which impact the practical approach one conducts research. The basis of the differences boil down to three questions.

  1. Ontological question. What is the fundamental nature and form of reality/what can be known? 
  2. Epistemological question. What is the relationship between the researcher, the researched, and what of the researched can be investigated?
  3. Methodological question. How does a researcher investigate the researched?
Positivism was the dominating paradigm for about 400 years. However, the article indicates that once major challenges were presented in regards to positivism, the post-positivism in now the reining paradigm. Critical theory and constructivism are gaining legitimacy and acceptance.


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