Positivist Paradigm In Social Research

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In the context of social research, ‘paradigm’ refers to a system of ideas used by a group of researchers in order to create knowledge (Fossey, 2002 p.718). Positivism is an example of a social research paradigm. The positivist paradigm refers to the ‘study of social reality utilizing the conceptual framework, the techniques of observation and measurement, the instruments of mathematical analysis, and the procedures of inference of the natural sciences’ Suggests Corbetta (2003 P.10). In order to identify the characteristic for research into this type of paradigm, three key questions need to be answered: the ontological question, the epistemological question and the methodological question.
The ontological question refers to ‘what exists and
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This includes the different forms of knowledge of the reality identified by ontology. With regards to the positivist approach, it is suggested that it employs a scientific discourse derived from the epistemologies of positivism and realism. It is possible to obtain hard, secure knowledge about what exists in society. In the social world this would be based on the belief that only a scientific approach would lead us to knowledge, as social phenomena are considered as "things", and things can be measured and defined scientifically Unlike the interpretivist approach, which can only be understood through ‘perceived’ knowledge (Carson et al 2001, …show more content…
He gathered his findings based on his London victimization survey. This survey included various categories of criminal behaviour, for example rape with theft, Car theft, pocket picking. The number of incidents for each crime was then recorded (Scarr, H 1980 p1). This method is problematic however as Typically, the number of incidents in a series is estimated by the victims, and there appears to be a tendency to overestimate the number. Therefore, these results may not be a true representation of the number of victims of each category of criminal behaviour. As the method used is a self-report technique, it is possible that not all of the crimes are reported by the victims. This might be due to embarrassment or some events being forgotten over a period of time. Also, only samples of considerable size, yield enough victimization incidents of any particular type to permit detailed and meaningful study. As crime, especially serious personal crime is a relatively rare occurrence (Schneider, A 1981

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