Friday 24 February 2017

Types of Philosophical Research & Philosophical Research Paradigms

Types of Philosophical Research:

Philosophical Research Paradigms

According to Wingo, there are three types of philosophical researches: These are the following:

Descriptive Philosophical Research: It includes study of history of philosophy, study of different philosophers, and general development of philosophical thought. For example: Educational issues looked at from the viewpoint of different philosophers.

Normative Philosophical Research: It includes to establish, norms, standards or guidelines, for conduct of human affairs with reference to knowledge of reality. It involves identification of human dispositions which are worthy of cultivation, pointing out arguments for why these dispositions are to be considered excellence and discussing how these excellence are to be nurtured or cultivated.

Analytical Philosophical Research: It includes analysis of concepts, theories, language etc. It also includes analyzing positivism, anti-positivism etc.

Philosophical Research Paradigms:

Before explaining Philosophical Research Paradigms, it is important to under the following terms first: 

1. Ontology: They study what we mean when we say something exists. According to Blaikie, “Claims and assumptions that are made about nature of social reality, claims about what exists, what it looks like, what units make it up and how these units interact with each other.”

2. Epistemology: They study what we mean when we say we know something. According to Crotty, “the theory of knowledge embedded in theoretical perspective and thereby in the methodology.”

Therefore, paradigm can be defined in the following manner:

"Ontological + Epistemological Assumptions= Paradigm"

After a brief description about ontology and epistemology, now we are going to discuss various paradigms of philosophical research. These are:


·         It is also called scientific paradigm.
·         The purpose of research is to prove or disprove a hypothesis
·         Emphasis on scientific method, statistical analysis and generalize findings
·         It usually has a control and experimental group and pre/test post method.
·    It was coined by French philosopher Auguste Comte who believed that realty can be observed.

Positive Thinkers
Deductive Reasoning
Scientific Method
Auguste Comte
Francis Bacon
Inductive Reasoning
Karl Popper
Post Positivism

Ontological Assumptions
Epistemology Assumptions
Reality is external to researcher and represented by objects in space
The methodology of natural science should be employed to study social reality
Objects have meaning independently of any consciousness of them
Truth can be attained because knowledge rests on a set of firm, unquestionable, indisputable truths from which our belief may be deduced
Reality can be captured by our senses and predicted
Knowledge is generated deductively from a theory or hypothesis

Knowledge is objective


There has been criticism of positivist paradigm for applying scientific method to research on human affairs (casual links that can be established in the study of natural science cannot be made in world of classroom where teacher and learner constructed meaning).

Popper argued that we should not quickly disregard all good qualities of scientific method. Rather, we can make small adjustments that can be improved upon to provide objective research within social science.

·       No matter how stringently a scientist adheres to scientific method, there is never an outcome that is objective.

·       The critical theorists Habermas emphasizes the determinist view of science as the “the ideal knowledge” which ignores the moral choices, values and judgments scientist make.

·         Ideology of Parsimony Theory: Simple and concise as possible.


It is also called “Anti-Positivist Paradigm”, because it was developed as a reaction to the Positivism. It is also sometimes referred to as “Constructivism” because it emphasizes the ability of individual to construct meaning.

Edmund Huserl
Arthur Schultz Wilhelm
dilthey, Han Georg Gadamer
Harold Garfinkel

Ontological Assumptions
Epistemology Assumptions
Reality is indirectly constructed based on
individual interpretation and is subjective.
Knowledge is gained through a strategy that “respects the differences between people and objects of natural science and
therefore requires the social scientist to grasp the subjective meaning of social action.
People interpret and make their own meaning of events.
Knowledge is gained inductively to create a theory
Events are distinctive and cannot be generalized.
Knowledge arises from particular situations and is not reducible to simplistic interpretation.
There are multiple perspectives on one incident
Knowledge is gained through personal experience.
Causation in social science is determined by interpreted meaning and symbols.


·   It abandons the scientific procedure of verification and therefore results cannot be generalized to other situations.
·         It is biased because of its subjectivity

·       It neglected to acknowledge the political and ideological influence on knowledge and social realty.