My current PhD module is ‘Philosophy of research’. On the one hand, I love it – finally a chance to get to grips with all that language associated with philosophy – epistemology, ontology, axiology and so on. But I’ve also found myself getting increasingly frustrated with the endless list of ‘research paradigms’ and talk of stances and positions and the assumed direct (but really blurred) relationship with ‘methods’. It’s not that I don’t understand it or ‘get it’, I’ve just found myself wondering what it is we are doing when we are distinguishing, labelling, categorising, and ultimately reifying research paradigms – and what is our purpose in doing so.
A couple of lines in one of my research text books (Robson, 2012) has led me into an interesting – I was going to say tangent, but that would mean I should go back – it’s a new interesting way of framing my understanding of the world of research
Robson (2012, page 27) states “In terms of research paradigms, a way forward is to be less concerned with ‘paradigms as philosophical stance’ and to adopt a notion of ‘paradigms as shared beliefs among groups of researchers’ (Morgan, 2007)”