Chapter Three: Research Methodology
The way in which research is conducted may be conceived of in terms of theresearch philosophy subscribed to, the research strategy employed and so theresearch instruments utilised (and perhaps developed) in the pursuit of a goal - theresearch objective(s) - and the quest for the solution of a problem - the researchquestion. We have outlined our research question and research objectives inChapter One. The purpose of this chapter is to:
discuss our research philosophy in relation to other
expound our research strategy, including the research
introduce the research instruments that we have developed and
utilised in the pursuit of our goals.
3.2 Research Philosophy
A research philosophy is a belief about the way in which data about a phenomenonshould be gathered, analysed and used. The term epistemology (what is known tobe true) as opposed to doxology (what is believed to be true) encompasses thevarious philosophies of research approach. The purpose of science, then, is theprocess of transforming things believed into things known: doxa to episteme. Twomajor research philosophies have been identified in the Western tradition of science,namely positivist (sometimes called scientific) and interpretivist (also known as anti-positivist)(Galliers, 1991).
Positivists believe that reality is stable and can be observed and described from anobjective viewpoint (Levin, 1988), i.e. without interfering with the phenomena beingstudied. They contend that phenomena should be isolated and that observationsshould be repeatable. This often involves manipulation of reality with variations inonly a single independent variable so as to identify regularities in, and to formrelationships between, some of the constituent elements of the social world.