The Philosophy of Research

In business, we define ‘Research’ as a systematic inquiry which is done to obtain information for problem solving and making decisions. This includes reporting, descriptive, explanatory, and predictor studies. But, if we come out of the business perspective and try to view research in a broader way, it has been a lot more relevant and applicable to the existence and evolution of knowledge since time immemorial.

Research Philosophy can be defined as an overarching term relating to the development of knowledge and the nature of that knowledge in relation to research. It refers to the systematic search for existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. This research requires an open mind in order to establish facts to both new and existing mysteries. Prior to the emergence of the modern era of research, research was more or less termed as logical reasoning So, one should not be surprised that a number of the fundamental distinctions in logic have been carried over into contemporary research. Research can be considered as a very nonfigurative and sophisticated thing but if we try to understand its various elements or phases and the way these match along, it isn’t nearly as difficult as it seems. The assumptions about our perception and understanding of the world form the basis of all research. Though the academia and the philosophers have been arguing for millennia about how to best understand the world, let’s see how most of the contemporary social scientists try to answer this question of understanding the world in the best way. The most appropriate way to approach this question is to refer to the philosophical schools of thought. Positivism and Post-Positivism are considered as the two major philosophical schools of thought. For the time being, we can ignore the other arguable alternatives like subjectivism, relativism, constructivism, deconstructivism etc. Positivism, in its broader sense, can be defined as the rejection of metaphysics. In simple words, it means that the objective of knowledge is to explain what we observe and measure i.e. our experiences. Post-Positivism, on the other hand, is the complete rejection of the central tenets of positivism. It considers the scientific reasoning and the common sense reasoning as the same process.

Research philosophy classifications such as ontology, epistemology, and anxiology and their conflicting applications to the ‘quantitative-qualitative’ debates, are a major source of dilemma to research students in establishing their relevance to subjects areas and discipline.  A number of studies have used totally different descriptions, categorizations and classifications of research paradigms and philosophies in reference to research strategies with overlapping emphasis and meanings. This has not solely resulted in tautological confusion of what’s rooted where, and according to whom; but raises a vital question of whether or not these opposing views are enriching knowledge or subtly turning into harmful within the field.

References:

  1. Business research methods by Cooper, Schindler and Sharma.
  2. http://wps.pearsoned.co.uk/ema_uk_he_saunders_resmethbus_5/111/28552/7309457.cw/content/index.html.

 

By:Section A _Group 4_Rajjan Singh_Roll No. 13PGP046 

 

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