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Methods Map - MacIntosh

Clarifies the purpose of research philosophy and its place in your research and dissertation.

Kevin O'Gorman

on 16 February 2016

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Transcript of Methods Map - MacIntosh

Metaphysics: The branch of philosophy concerned with the ultimate nature of existence

Ontology: The branch of metaphysics that deals with the nature of being
The nature of reality that is being investigated in your dissertation

Epistemology: The branch of metaphysics that deals with the nature of knowledge, its presuppositions and foundations, and its extent and validity
The study of knowledge
Theories of what constitutes knowledge and understanding of phenomena
How we explain ourselves as knowers, how we arrive at our beliefs
Critical self-awareness and examination of beliefs and knowledge-claims
Need for conscious, reflexive thinking about our own thinking, and critique our pre-understandings, and their effect on our research

a priori argument: deriving a proof or using evidence to test a hypotheses

a posteriori argument, deriving knowledge from empirical investigation

Theoretical framework, within which research is conducted
Objective Reality
Essences that fit together in some system
May relate to laws
The truth holds, regardless of who the observer is
Aim = to discover what is there
Subjective Reality
No essences of reality
No absolute laws
The ‘truth’ varies depending on the observer
Aim = to understand people’s interpretations and perceptions
Harmonious Reality
Ultimately things fit together
Atomism: Understand the whole on the basis of the parts
Holism: understand the parts on the basis of the whole
Conflictual Reality
Ultimately things are in tension with each other
‘Harmony’ is only perceived by ignoring resistance, silence, exclusion, etc.
Power and knowledge are intrinsically linked
Comte (1840)
Reject dogma and bias and focus on the ‘positively given’ i.e. sensory perception
Aim for discovery, through reason and observation combined, of the actual laws that govern the succession and similarity of phenomena

Popper (1963)
It is commonly supposed that the best scientific theories are supported by considerable confirmatory evidence
Good theories are capable of failing they make sufficiently strong predictions that the can be found to be wrong
The criterion of scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability, or refutability, or testability
The observer is independent of what is being observed
The choice of subject and method can be made objectively, not based on beliefs or interests
hypothesise a law and deduct what kinds of observations will demonstrate its truth or falsify
typically quantitative
Break problems down into their smallest possible elements
Sufficient samples should be selected in order to generalise to a population
Research aims to show how realities are socially produced and maintained through norms, rites, rituals and every day activities.
Socially constructed reality shaped by social, political, cultural, economic, ethnic and gender values; crystallized over time.
Relativism i.e. multiple, local and specific ‘constructed’ realities.
Emphasis on social as opposed to economic view of activities.
Concerned to unravel aspects of social life that have not been systematised, institutionalised.
People considered as sense-making subjects, rather than objects of study.
All qualitative data is generated by observation, in depth interviewing and analysis of text
Focus Groups
Oral History

Images and metaphors are important reflections of cultural meanings and values (Baudrillard 1986)

In consultation with your supervisor you should use the first few paragraphs of your methodology for:

Clearly stating, justifying and explaining the philosophical stance adopted in in relation to research topic.
Relating the ontological and epistemological stance to methodological approach and actual research methods selected
It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds.

Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero.

From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.
Methods Map and
Research Paradigm

“Firstly ... nothing exists;

secondly ... even if anything exists, it is incomprehensible by man;

thirdly.., even if anything is comprehensible, it is guaranteed to be inexpressible and incommunicable to one’s neighbour”

Gorgias (500BC) quoted in Aristotle (340BC)
De Melisso Xenophane Gorgia 980 a19-20
Research Question
What is it I am going to look at?

Researchable Question
Philosophy of Knowledge –what would it mean to find something?

Today is about what does it mean to say you have found an answer to that question ?

The Basics
Two Common Problems
The Incompletness Problem
– doing interviews without having specified the other parts of the methodology

The Inconsistency Problem
– I am not a strict vegetarian! What do you feed someone who is either a vegetarian or a carnivore – methodology you can make the same kind of social faux pax

Methods Map
Full transcript