Summary of a Book Chapter
The Infrastructure of Qualitative Field Research
This chapter is taken from a book “A Guide to Qualitative Field Research” written by Coral A. Bailey. In this chapter Bailey comprehensively discuss the three basics component of field research that are “paradigm, theory and tradition of inquiry”. He argues that while writing about field research and trying to make it more enhanced for learning, the qualitative researchers have to organize the presentation of all the interrelated "pieces" which influence each other. For that, in addition to other approaches, qualitative researchers work within paradigms. In the simplest of terms, a paradigm is "a basic set of beliefs that guide action". However, paradigms are much more complicated than this simple definition implies, but it gives us a meek idea of how crucial a guide paradigm proves to be to the research process. Paradigmatic beliefs of researchers influence the purposes, procedures, presentation, relationships of the participants and the role of ethics in their research. All the paradigms that guide field research have four major, interrelated beliefs about ontology, epistemology, methodology and axiology. Ontology covers the concepts related to nature of reality, epistemology refers to the relationship between the knower and the known, methodology focuses on the procedure and axiology is concerned with ethics and values. All these beliefs require answers to some questions they raise and particular configurations of these answers are organized into paradigms. Now that we better understand that paradigms are quite complicated and important for conducting field research, let's look into three frequently used paradigms: positivist, interpretive and critical. Quantitative researchers almost always use a positivist paradigm and it is considered to be the only legitimate methodology for conducting scientific research. The ontological belief of positivism is that an objective reality...
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