Research Methodology - Department of Information Systems

Research Methodology - Department of Information Systems

20 Pages · 1998 · 63 KB · English

3-1. Chapter Three: Research Methodology. 3.1 Introduction. The way in which research is conducted may be conceived of in terms of the research philosophy 

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3-1 Chapter Three: Research Methodology 3.1 Introduction The way in which research is conducted may be conceived of in terms of the research philosophy subscribed to, the research strategy employed and so the research instruments utilised (and perhaps developed) in the pursuit of a goal - the research objective(s) - and the quest for the solution of a problem - the research question. We have outlined our research question and research objectives in Chapter One. The purpose of this chapter is to: · discuss our research philosophy in relation to other philosophies; · expound our research strategy, including the research methodologies adopted; · introduce the research instruments that we have developed and utilised in the pursuit of our goals. 3.2 Research Philosophy A research philosophy is a belief about the way in which data about a phenomenon should be gathered, analysed and used. The term epistemology (what is known to be true) as opposed to doxology (what is believed to be true) encompasses the various philosophies of research approach. The purpose of science, then, is the process of transforming things believed into things known: doxa to episteme. Two major research philosophies have been identified in the Western tradition of science, namely positivist (sometimes called scientific) and interpretivist (also known as anti- positivist)(Galliers, 1991). 3.2.1 Positivism Positivists believe that reality is stable and can be observed and described from an objective viewpoint (Levin, 1988), i.e. without interfering with the phenomena being studied. They contend that phenomena should be isolated and that observations should be repeatable. This often involves manipulation of reality with variations in only a single independent variable so as to identify regularities in, and to form relationships between, some of the constituent elements of the social world. 3-2 Predictions can be made on the basis of the previously observed and explained realities and their inter-relationships. "Positivism has a long and rich historical tradition. It is so embedded in our society that knowledge claims not grounded in positivist thought are simply dismissed as ascientific

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