Write a 2 pages paper on alternative methodology. Alternative Methodology Introduction As opposed to the scientific approach to research, the constructivist approach views research in a different way. From an analysis of Swain and Hammond’s (2011) research on the motivations and outcomes of studying for part-time mature students in higher education, it is evident that the research takes a constructivist approach. This research theory or paradigm is a theory that is mostly used in qualitative research. From Swain and Hammond (2011), it can be seen that the research is qualitative, since it does not quantify the data or the results. From definition, the constructivist theory is one where mankind construct their own realities based on other individuals and their subjectivity. Scientific theory is usually objective, while the constructivist approach is mostly subjective. This paper aims to identify the ways in which the study would have been different if the researchers had taken the scientific theory or positivist approach as opposed to the constructivist approach used. This difference will be identified by focusing on the epistemology, ontology, methodology and the effects of the theory on the data generated and inferences used.
According to Gialdino (2009), epistemology is the approach that the researcher takes to the study based on the theory being used. As already identified, scientific theory usually takes on the objective construct, while constructivist paradigms usually involve subjectivity. The objectivity or subjectivity of the researcher is the epistemology of the research. In the case of Swain and Hammond (2011), it is evident that the research took a subjective view, which means that the researchers used the constructivist approach. In this case, if the researchers had taken the scientific approach, the research would have been different. In the scientific approach, the researchers remain objective and try to eliminate bias from the research.
The ontology of research is a concept that deals with the relationships between different aspects of the society, and is different in both scientific and constructionist approaches (Hein, 1991). In the constructionist approach, researchers consider that there is no true knowledge, that knowledge is interpreted differently by different individuals. Since the constructionist approach is usually qualitative, it differs from scientific research in its ontology. If the research by Swain and Hammond (2011) had taken a scientific approach, the ontology would have been differentiated. Scientific or positivist paradigms use knowledge as the goal of research, which means that a quantitative approach to the research would have been taken.
As previously mentioned, the key difference between the positivist paradigm and the constructionist paradigm is the manipulation of data and inferences. For this difference to be noticed, the methodology for collecting and analyzing the data should be noted. If the research had taken a scientific approach, the methodology used would have focused on quantifying the different variables in the study and creating a baseline standard for the responses. However, in the research, the researchers used open ended questions that indicate the quality, as opposed to the quantity of the data collected (Kathleen and Karey, 2009).
Data and Inferences
From the above analysis, it is already evident that the data collected would have been different if the researchers had taken a scientific approach to the study. First, the data collected was mainly qualitative, dealing with the feelings and experiences of the participants. If the researchers had used a positivist paradigm, the data would have quantified specific variables that form part of the general hypothesis. Finally, the inferences drawn from the study would have been used to prove or disprove a hypothesis, as opposed to finding a qualitative factor from the research.
Gialdino, I 2009. Ontological and Epistemological Foundations of Qualitative Research. Forum for Qualitative Social Research, Vol. 10:2, 102-105.
Hein, G 1991. Constructivist Learning Theory. CECA (International Committee of Museum Educators) Conference.
Kathleen, F and Karey, H 2005. Constructivist Research: Methodology and Practice. Meyer & Meyer Sport, Oxford, U.K.
Swain, J and Hammond, C 2011. The motivations and outcomes of studying for part-time mature students in higher education, International Journal of Lifelong Education, 30:5, 591-612.