In the pursuit of “truth”, objectivity is considered as fundamental.

Visram, Zabin (2014) In the pursuit of “truth”, objectivity is considered as fundamental. Project Report. Visram, Z, University of Reading. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The search for Truth

The aim of research is to achieve true and certain knowledge (Eisner 1992). Achieving this is problematic as research is complex, diverse and pluralistic (Hodkinson, 2004). This diversity has resulted in the creation of many research paradigms, which provide a set of propositions on how the world is perceived; attempting to break down the complexities of the real world, in order to identify what is important and legitimate (Hammersley 1992).

We get a sense of why these complexities arise when we examine the term ‘research’. It is not one that has a well-defined meaning, considerable disagreement exists to as what counts as research. At one extreme is the realist / objectivist ontology, claiming that objective detachment; elimination of one’s own values system and personal bias and neutrality is desirable when conducting research (Sarantakos 2005). At the other extreme is the constructionist ontology representation, based on interpretivist epistemology, claiming that reality is not objective but interpreted (Oakley, 2000), indicating that it is not possible to be detached from individual bias and perceptions. Citing that acknowledgement of subjectivity is fundamental as individuals create realities of the world according to their own cultural and historical upbringings (Hammersley 2005;Eisner, 1992;).

To a large extend the polarisation of these two extreme research positions stem from their theoretical origin. The former developed from an experimental psychology based on a scientific footing, the later influenced by philosophy on behaviour-modification.

This discussion paper will explore the debates surrounding these two paradigms from an historical and psychological aspect, in an attempt to identify if objectivity is fundamental or even desirable in research. It will become clear that there are many contentious issues and criticisms concerned with the validity and reliability for both approaches.

Item Type: Report (Project Report)
Uncontrolled Keywords: ontology, epistemology, paradigm, objectivity, subjectivity
Subjects: Education
Hospitality and tourism
Depositing User: ZABIN VISRAM
Date Deposited: 31 May 2016 23:50
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2016 14:00
URI: http://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/2305

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