Infinitely Approaching the Untouchable Truth
Epistemology — What knowledge claims are being made by the researcher?
The term positivism was first coined by Auguste Comte as early as the 1830s; it means objective inquiry based on measurable variables, objective observation, quantifiable data, and verifiable truth.
The positivist research contends that science should be concerned with the explanation and the prediction of events that are under observation (Kincheloe, 1991).
Postpositivism is a meta-action or reflexivity about positivism. It is an interrogation about the conventional idea of the absolute truth of knowledge (Phillips & Burbules, 2000).
It is now recognized that the observation and description are selective and the perception and understanding are partial.
Therefore, there is an acknowledgment that we cannot be positive about knowledge claim when studying human behavior.
The term postpositivism gradually replaces positivism in the scientific realm. There are some traits in postpositivism : (1) deterministic and (2) reductionistic.
There is a deterministic perspective in postpositivism whereby a cause determines an effect or a finding. So it is common that in scientific research, an experiment is carried out to examine an issue in question.
There is also a reductionistic perspective in which the scientist diminishes the range of notions to small scale items to verify, such as using variables which consist of hypothesis.
The knowledge yielded via postpositivism is grounded on deliberate observation and measurement of the objective substance. So the development of the standardized measuring instruments and the rigorous statistical tests is crucial in postpositivism.
The ultimate concern of postpositivism is to find the laws or theories that govern the reality that exists “out there” in the world. And postpositivists engage in the process to test or verify or amend such rules. Just like what Popper proposed, scientific research should use deduction or falsification instead of induction or verification; through this kind of endeavor, the researchers can move closer to the truth.
Kincheloe, J. L. (1991). Teachers as researchers: Qualitative inquiry as a path to empowerment. London/New York/Philadelphia: Falmer Press.
Phillips, D. C., & Burbules, N. C. (2000). Philosophy, theory, and educational research.Postpositivism and educational research. Rowman & Littlefield.
Originally published at http://poeticmindfulness.wordpress.com on October 5, 2020.