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Paper Information

Journal:   FOUNDATIONS OF EDUCATION (STUDIES IN EDUCATION & PSYCHOLOGY)   SPRING-SUMMER 2012 , Volume 2 , Number 1; Page(s) 27 To 46.
 
Paper: 

METHODOLOGICAL PLURALISM: DECLINE OF POSITIVISM OR DEMISE OF ACTUALITY?

 
 
Author(s):  MEHRMOHAMMADI MAHMOOD*
 
* 
 
Abstract: 

The danger of qualitative research methodologies falling into the fatal trap of relativism and null (non-existent) reality in an honest and worthy pursuit to emancipate human knowledge and understanding from the dominant account offered by quantitative methodologies is a serious one. It should be taken as even more serious for research communities who have just begun to practice breaking away from the hegemony of conventional methodologies like Iran. This danger can be traced back to the presumed dichotomies or the either–or arguments that are widely believed to explain the differences discriminating quantitative and qualitative camps. To overcome this danger on the other hand, it is argued that researchers need to take refuge in "trichotomies" that provide a space to define a third epistemic position that is as far from the illusionary position of "certainty" claim embraced by quantitative approaches as it is from the position of "uncertainty" or equal validity of all claims that threatens the well-being of qualitative approaches. The third epistemic position is referred to as "pluralism". It is argued that pluralism, if defined properly and acted upon intelligently, could become the safeguard against relativism, most often attributed to findings of qualitative research or accounts of reality entertained by such research. Qualitative research, it is stressed, will gain much ground in terms of legitimacy and persuasiveness and in rightfully breaking the existing hegemony, if their agents are guided by the wisdom inherent in "trichotomies". In addition to a theoretical remedy for the problem, the article proceeds to offer a practical strategy for researchers that, if properly acted upon, will attribute a rigorous status to research findings emerging from qualitative methodologies. The practical strategy explained here is referred to as method-boundedness.

 
Keyword(s): DICHOTOMIES, TRICHOTOMIES, CERTAINTY, RELATIVISM, EPISTEMIC PLURALITY, METHOD-BOUNDEDNESS
 
References: 
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