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Discussion on different methods used while conducting a research work

University: University of Chester

Module Code: BU7002

Learning Outcomes:

1. To understand the nature of management knowledge and management research through an appreciation of the ontological, epistemological, axiological and paradigmatic foundations of management research

2. To identify and critically evaluate a range of research strategies and research designs in the light of research quality standards

3. To understand and evaluate effective qualitative research designs and methods in management.



Answer

1. Research philosophy

Ontology

Ontology indicates the nature of reality that is chiefly perceived by the society as universal truth. Ontology can be classified as objectivism and subjectivism (Saunders et al, 2016).


Objectivism: Objectivism indicates the universal truths including physical entities. These entities are not influenced or altered by the interpretation of the researcher or experience (Sutherland, Cimpian, Leslie, & Gelman, 2015). In the paradigm of objectivism the facts are verifiable or measurable in the similar manner of the natural sciences in materialism (Scotland, 2012).


Subjectivism: According to subjectivism multiple truths exist and they are viewed in different manners among individuals that is known as idealism. Social constructionism affects the actions and social interactions to others. The mentioned facts are intangible.


Epistemology

Epistemology is the layer of research philosophy according to Saunders et al() that reflects upon the nature of knowledge or the path that is used to find the truth. The philosophy has several aspects and among them two of the mostly followed epistemological approaches are:


Positivism: Positivism indicates the empiricism or the scientific methods that are used in order to enlighten the knowledge of the facts. It includes the methods of quantifiable observation, calculation and hypothesis that are important in order to continue a particular study. The studies that follows this philosophy are considered to be free of values and provable from the senses.


Interpretivism: It is a well known fact that different people have dissimilar faiths and beliefs and according to their belief the paradigm of truth is set in their minds. Relativism indicates the dissimilar beliefs that emerge from the social complexity and difference in culture. Following this particular philosophy the researcher seeks to interpret and quest the meaning behind the existing truths.


Research paradigm

There are two primary philosophies that are found in the realm of research based on the ontology, epistemology and the axiology and they are:

Quantitative: This research is associated with positivism and objectivism that is generally associated with deductive approach.

Qualitative: This particular research is related to subjectivism and interpretive that requires inductive approach in order to reach a conclusive solution. 


2. Objective of the research article

The research article aims at analysing how the students make sense of the criticality. Evidently ‘critically’ is itself a relative term and the students reflect various opinions regarding their perspective of criticality which clearly indicates subjectivism (Creswell & Poth, 2017). In the project the researcher has adopted a single data collection of qualitative method that is mono method qualitative study. The semi-structured interviews included six students as part of a single case study in order to find out their views regarding the development of critical thinking over time. After that a pedagogical tool was created by the author namely ‘The Criticality Wheel” as per the perception of the students following the philosophy of interpretivism. 


The research paradigm that is used in the article is qualitative which is a part of the exploratory study and this is considered to be an appropriate one in order to achieve the previously set research goals and objectives (Patten & Newhart, 2017). As per the analysis of the article a sense of disparity is felt regarding the methodology of the research and it can affect the quality of the research. The research can be more reliable if longitudinal method was used. It is significant for controlling the bias in a cross-sectional study. The participants are to be answered through the sociological generalised believe rather than the idiosyncratic truth (Gray, 2004).


The research could have been more accurate if it had followed pragmatism into consideration for the cross-sectional study. Generally mix method is applied for a particular qualitative case study (Knopf, 2006).

The explanatory study using the quantitative method could have been integrated in accordance with the qualitative approach as exploratory or sequential explanatory research design for the understanding of the complete dynamics. The criticality tests from the participants in the first, second and the final year students of the university could be collected and scrutinized statistically in order to explain the relation between critical development and the year of study. Therefore, it is evident that mixed methodology provides a clearer view of the obtained data.


3. Literature review evaluation

Coverage: The relevance of the literature review is its alignment with the research questions and the research goals. The research question ‘how the students make sense of criticality’ and the objective is related to the process of motivation that can be implied in order to develop the criticality skill of the students. The topics that the author has reflected on are:

  • What is criticality?
  • What is the importance of criticality?
  • Several pedagogical tools to develop criticality
  • Teaching in university and its effect on criticality.

The first two topics are pertinent to research questions and the last two are pertinent to objective.


Currency:

The sources needs to be accurate and relevant to a particular information. It is important to choose up to date sources and it depends on the type of the review. The first segment of the article deals with the history of ‘critical’ so older sources can be considered to be relevant.

Analysis:

The article does not provide ample analysis though there is an informative explanation to ‘critical’.

Criticality:

The opinions and the facts are not been clearly distinguished by the author. The conclusion seems to be limited.

Synthesis:

The article is chronological in order and coherent. The lack of scope for debate has been felt.

Gaps:

The primary gap is the students’ perception of criticality and its importance for teaching and learning and why the primary focus of the teacher lies in the fact.


4. Ethical principles of the research

The four primary ethical considerations that need to be followed as the research guideline are:

  • No detriment to the participants: It is important that the researcher that the participants of any kind in the particular research is not harmed or adversely affected or caused any possible risk to the mental and the physical well being by the researcher intentionally or unintentionally (Bryman & Bell, 2015).
  • Consent of the participants: The participants including the interviewees are informed by the researcher regarding the purpose of their participation (Punch & Oancea, 2014). The researcher has completely informed the participants the implication of their involvement and agreement in a research project. The participants have complete right to withdraw any data or information that is provided by them along with that they have the right to negate answering any question or data if they are reluctant.
  •  Maintenance of privacy: The researcher have undertaken the project with responsibility and ensures that the project does not mention any name and the anonymity of the individuals and the organizations have been maintained along with that the data has not been used in any commercial purpose and completely for the research project maintaining complete confidentiality.
  • Avoidance of deception: The obtained data results need to be used with integrity and honesty. The integrity of the researcher is to act in complete truthfulness and the data needs to be used with accuracy without any violation or possible misinterpretation.


Evaluation of this research against four ethical principles

The participants of the project has not been subjected to any physical or mental harm prior to their engagement in the research activity (Smith, 2015). The respondents of the research participated in a semi-structured interview organized by the researcher and the participants were engaged regarding their view of ‘criticality’ that is not associated with any kind of embarrassment and neither it is a sensitive issue.

The students who acted as the participants permitted consent and the eager respondents were included in the activity through their informed consent. Students were provided with the power to withdraw their participation from the interview and the data has been examined before analysis. The interviewees have approved the transcripts of the audio-recorded interviews. 


In order to maintain the privacy and the security of the respondents the students have been mentioned anonymously in the data.

The respondents have been informed of the research purposes without any deception before proceeding of the data collection (Best & Kahn, 2016). The researcher has no association with any company commercial or physical or any stakeholder of any organization. The research work has achieved critical skills through the purpose of academic teaching and learning and not been used in any commercial purpose. In order to reflect the validity of the data and that the data has not been manipulated the transcripts have been verified by the respondents and systematic analysis has been granted for conclusive results. 

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