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Dictionary

METHODOLOGY

Roger Sapsford

The philosophical stance or worldview that underlies and informs a style of research. Methodology is the philosophy of methods. It encompasses, first, an epistemology – the ‘rules of truth’ for warranting the validity of conclusions – and secondly, an ontology establishing the ‘objects’ about which questions may validly be asked and conclusions may be drawn. In virtually all research (but see below) the epistemology is ‘rules of science’ – conclusions based on arguments cast in terms of information that has been collected ‘transparently’ by known, and in principle, testable and reproducible means. The ontologies of research, however, reflect the wordview or ‘map’ with which the researcher engages. One position, commonly labelled ‘positivistic’, takes for granted the nature of the real world and reserves all its doubts for the nature of the evidence about it; problems within positivism are problems of measurement – how to measure the real world most accurately ...

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