These class notes are from today’s seminar about the role of theory in our research. We reflected on what we learned last week about paradigms, discussed the definition of “theory”, where theories are present (spoiler: everywhere), how theories are used in research, building our own theoretical frameworks, and the difference between a theoretical framework and a literature review.
These class notes build on the reading about paradigms in social science research and briefly detail some of the paradigms commonly used in social science and education research. Paradigms covered here include positivism and post-positivism, constructivism and interpretivist approaches, critical theories for emancipation, deconstruction and re-creation by using theory as method.
We explored which approaches fit best with our own world-views and where there might be overlap with complementary paradigms, why we need to be careful using more than one paradigm in our research despite feeling they fit together, ontological and epistemological assumptions about truth/knowledge that are the basis of these paradigms, and questioning whether paradigms are useful or unhelpful concepts at all!
These brief reading notes summarise the key points made in the below reading as preparation for a seminar about various paradigms used in education and social science research.
Corbetta, P. (2003). Paradigms of social research. In Social research: Theory, methods and techniques (pp. 8-29). : SAGE Publications Ltd doi: 10.4135/9781849209922.n1