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 ...Show more