Distinguishing Qualitative Research Methods from Paradigm Orientation

The following is a modified excerpt from Applied Qualitative Research Design: A Total Quality Framework Approach (Roller & Lavrakas, 2015, pp. 17-20).

A good deal has been written about paradigms in qualitative Method from Paradigm Orientationresearch as they relate to assessing quality (Greene, 1994; Lather, 2004; Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Morrow, 2005; Patton, 1978; Ponterotto, 2013; Rolfe, 2006). Some scholars, such as Rolfe (2006), start from the premise that

“any attempt to establish a consensus on quality criteria for qualitative research is unlikely to succeed for the simple reason that there is no unified body or theory [i.e., an accepted paradigm], methodology or method that can collectively be described as qualitative research; indeed, [I believe] that the very idea of qualitative research is open to question” (p. 305, emphasis in original).

Rolfe opines that “if there is no unified qualitative research paradigm, then it makes little sense to attempt to establish a set of generic criteria for making quality judgments about qualitative research studies” (2006, p. 304). This line of thinking, however, confounds attention to methods and Read Full Text

Social Constructionism & Quality in Qualitative Research Design

If you haven’t already, I strongly encourage you to take a look at Kenneth Gergen’s video on “Social Constructionist Ideas, Theory and Practice.” In it, Dr. GergenSocial Construction provides an overview of how social constructionists think and how such thinking can (and should) apply to real-world matters. Social constructionism is not one thing, not one theory or approach, but rather a “creative resource” that enables a new, expanded way of talking and thinking about concepts. Indeed, it might be said that a constructionist view is one where all so-called “realities” are conceptual in nature, a product of our own personal “baggage” (values) and the relationship we have with the object of our experience (e.g., a person, a product, an event).

In this way, a social constructionist orientation is devoid of the notions pertaining to “truth,” objectivity, and value neutrality; embracing instead the idea that “truth” is elusive while Read Full Text

The Transcendence of Quality Over Paradigms in Qualitative Research

A graduate course in qualitative research methods may be framed arouunitynd discussions of the particular theoretical or philosophical paradigms – belief systems or world view – that qualitative researchers use in varying degrees to orient their approach for any given study.  And, indeed, if the instructor is using popular texts such as those from Norman Denzin and Yvonna Lincoln  (2011) or John Creswell (2013) – each of which have new 2017 editions – students would be learning first about the different implications and approaches associated with various paradigm orientations, followed by (or along with) the corresponding methodological considerations.

There have been over the years debates in the academic qualitative research community about how best to identify and talk about these paradigms as well as quality concerns related to conducting research based around any one of these belief systems.  In the broadest sense, the most oft-discussed paradigms in qualitative research are: postpositivism – often allied with a more quantitative approach where the emphasis is on maintaining objectivity and controlling variables in order to approximate “reality”; constructivism or interpretivism – in which the belief is not hinged to one objective reality but multiple Read Full Text