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Understanding research philosophy

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❶Philosophers are, or at least are expected to be, very good at giving arguments. Some people have questions about the meaning of their beliefs and questions about the justification or rationality of their beliefs.

Key nature of research philosophy

Epistemology
Intrinsic elements of epistemology

Hence, based on their different perspectives, their strategies and methods will also differ. Philosophical approach enables the researcher to decide which approach should be adopted and why. Hence before selecting the appropriate research philosophy it is important to know about various types of philosophies in research Saunders et al.

These assumptions will determine research strategy and the methods of that strategy. This may include quality maintenance like machines, computers, raw materials and such others.

For example, interpreting the psychological strategies undertaken by suppliers and demands of consumers. Naturalistic use the methods like, interview ,observation and analysis of existing texts. A qualitative approach is applied interacting with individuals in order to collaboratively construct a meaningful reality Rowlands, It believes that objects have an independent existence from human mind.

This element is more related to positivism. However, the view contrasts between direct realis t and critical realist. Precisely critical realists believe in virtual reality. While in case of critical realism, what the research has perceived observing the manufacturing process is only a part of the greater quality.

It varies from products to products and over time too. Similarly direct realist emphasises on changing the social world within which participants live. Hence, use action research and participant observation. This social phenomenon is constantly getting revised through continuous social interaction. Subjectivists believe that customers as social actors interpret a situation based on their perception of the world and through their interaction with the environment. Qualitative methodology, similar to interpretivism is applicable.

For example, the process of supply chain management social entity remains unchanged reality despite the change or replacement of all its actors including manufacturers, producers, logistics providers, suppliers and consumers social actors.

Similarly an organisation and its internal functioning social entity remain unchanged reality despite the change in its workforce social actors.

Precisely a pragmatist avoid going into argument on concepts of truth and reality. Another feature of this philosophy is that the positivist researcher follows highly structured methodology in order to facilitate the hypothesis. Furthermore, positivism works on quantifiable observations and accordingly statistical analysis is obtained.

For example, the resources researcher cannot manipulate during data collection procedure as they are independent to the subject of the research. For example, a research was conducted on the basis of flexi working on the female workforce throughout India.

In positivism, these hypotheses are tested and result is confirmed by the researcher to develop a theory. Realism is another philosophical branch of epistemology which relates to scientific enquiry. The core feature of realism is pertained to disclose the truth of reality and the existence of the objects are prevalent independently in the human mind.

Realism is classified as direct realism and critical realism. Direct realism explains what is experienced by our senses and that are attained by the researcher.

On the other hand, the critical realism expresses that what is experienced by our sensations those are images of the real world, not the reality. The difference between the two is that the first is related to the capacity of research what is studied and the critical realist recognizes the importance of multi-level study in the context of the individual, the group and the organization.

There is a difference between direct realism and critical realism. Critical realism claims that there are two stages to experience this world.

Firstly, sensation is conveyed to experience the object or people or event and the nest stage is our mental process starts working after the sensations. Interpretivism is a branch epistemology which is focused to the assessment the differences between humans as social actors. The issue of difference is emphasized on the difference between conducting research among people rather than objects such as medicines and computer. In this philosophy, interpretation of social roles has been presented with respect of own set of meaning.

In addition, we interpret the social roles of others in accordance with our own set of meanings. The interpretation regarding employee turnover of HR manager and trade union leader are completely different as they both belong to different social roles. Axiology is a branch of philosophy which is concerned about judgments, aesthetics, and ethics.

The process of social enquiry is involved in this approach. However, this method creates impact in social sciences research. For example, a study was conducted among customers of bank to determine their experiences of using credit card in terms of convenience, security, privacy and phone banking.

The results of the study revealed that there was lack of communication strategies and absence of awareness level within the consumers, and that most of the consumers are not interested in this product. However, the bank authorities did now allow researcher to publish the findings.

But the researcher and the respective organization must consider the ethical perspective of this issue for the welfare of the consumers. Positivism Interpretivism The observer interacts with subject being showed. Problems as a whole are clearly understood if the totality of the situation is projected.

Sometimes a philosophical theory by itself can be stated quite briefly. All the supporting philosophical text is offered by way of hedging , explanation, and argument. Not all proposed solutions to philosophical problems consist of definitions or generalizations. Sometimes, what is called for, is a certain sort of explanation — not a causal explanation, but an explanation for example of how two different views, which seem to be contrary to one another, can be held at the same time, consistently.

One can call this a philosophical explanation. An argument is a set of statements, one of which the conclusion , it is said or implied, follows from the others the premises. One might think of arguments as bundles of reasons — often not just a list, but logically interconnected statements — followed by the claim they are reasons for.

The reasons are the premises, the claim they support is the conclusion; together they make an argument. Philosophical arguments and justifications are another important part of philosophical method. It is rare to find a philosopher, particularly in the Western philosophical tradition, who lacks many arguments.

Philosophers are, or at least are expected to be, very good at giving arguments. They constantly demand and offer arguments for different claims they make. This therefore indicates that philosophy is a quest for arguments. A good argument — a clear, organized, and sound statement of reasons — may ultimately cure the original doubts that motivated us to take up philosophy. If one is willing to be satisfied without any good supporting reasons, then a Western philosophical approach may not be what one actually requires.

In philosophy concerning the most fundamental aspects of the universe, the experts all disagree. It is this that makes much philosophizing a social endeavor. Philosophers offer definitions and explanations in solution to problems; they argue for those solutions; and then other philosophers provide counter arguments, expecting to eventually come up with better solutions. This exchange and resulting revision of views is called dialectic.

Dialectic in one sense of this history-laden word is simply philosophical conversation amongst people who do not always agree with each other about everything. One can do this sort of harsh criticism on one's own, but others can help greatly, if important assumptions are shared with the person offering the criticisms. Others are able to think of criticisms from another perspective.


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Research philosophy is a vast topic and here we will not be discussing this topic in great details. In business and economics dissertations at Bachelor’s level, you are not expected to discuss research philosophy in a great level of depth, and about one page in methodology chapter devoted to.

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3- 1 Chapter Three: Research Methodology 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.

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Realism Research Philosohy Realism research philosophy relies on the idea of independence of reality from the human mind. This philosophy is based on the assumption of a scientific approach to the development of knowledge. Research philosophy is an important part of research methodology. Research philosophy is classified as ontology, epistemology and axiology. These philosophical approaches enable to decide which approach should be adopted by the researcher and why, which is derived from research questions (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, ).

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Choosing an appropriate research philosophy is an important part of research methodology. In fact as Guba & Lincoln, () has propounded, philosophical paradigm within a research holds utmost importance, as it is the “basic belief system or world view that guides the investigation” (p. ). philosophy of research methodology (social sciences) kntayya mariappan fksw, ums postgraduate methodology course centre for postgraduate studies 26 february