The attempt will be made through discussion to determine whether the approach used was positivist, interpretive or constructivist or a combination thereof. The articles will also be compared as to the qualitative and quantitative methods and whether they are empirical or non-empirical in method. Ethics will be touched on as a necessary part of any research that is done today.
To begin, let us discuss the different methods presently available for use in designing and carrying out research such as that noted above. In any research there is a method used and though we would often think that the scientific method would always be used, that may not be true. The method of study is usually determined prior to the study being done. Will the study be empirical or non-empiracal Will it be Quantitative or Qualitative What about positivist or interpretivist or maybe constructivist Sometimes the study itself will determine the method to be used. Sometimes there is a particular method or paradigm particularly appreciated by the researcher.
Interpretivist research is oftentimes seen as descriptive or summarizing in method. This type of research obtains its data indirectly through other than direct research methods. The data may come from such places as academic books, policies, laws, or regulations (Xinping, 2002). Most of this type of research is done in a library with resources found there. The interpretivist approach is described as often speculative, philosophical or impressionistic. The results of the research are not often used as any direct assistance to any future work.
The positivist method is more often used in research today. Many advancements in many fields have occurred because of this method. The positivist method uses a very strict method of research (Xinping, 2002). The result is found through experimentation. The steps are: define the problem, develop a hypothesis, decide on the proposition, verify the results, and conclude with reporting. This type of method is often used to formulate new studies that may be developed from the data or information gained.
Constructivist research in education is controversial at best. Constructivist paradigms are often elaborated in debate, reflection, and abstraction. There is the question as to whether this is research at all. It is certainly not done by any methods that are normally thought of as research (Xinping, 2002). However, it is not unusual for a constructivist theory to be followed up by empirical research based on what was determined by the constructivist. There is reality based in this research even though it is sometimes difficult to determine. A theory developed here can be followed up by a positivist study.
Non-empirical research is not based on gathering data but developing theoretical ideas. These ideas are meant to reflect ones own thoughts and ideas and can often be spawned from something that has occurred recently or may be a past experience of the researcher. An example might be a man who has described that he is going to do his dissertation on childhood bereavement in schools because he had seen a child told not to talk about her Daddy's death in school. This creates a need to critique earlier arguments on the subject and review earlier literature. It may involve very few statistical studies of any kind
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