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The term research philosophy refers to a system of beliefs and assumptions about the development of knowledge. In layman’s terms, a research philosophy is the choice a researcher makes on how to pursue his research, consciously or subconsciously. Scholars have identified five of the most prominent research philosophies in academia, however, choosing one is a matter of debate. (main source: Saunders, Mark & Lewis, P & Thornhill, A. (2009). Understanding research philosophies and approaches. Research Methods for Business Students. 4. 106-135.)


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To a pragmatist, none of the above philosophies's methods can single handedly provide answers to every research problem. By being uninhibited by the limits and restrictions inherent to the other philosophies, pragmatists use whatever means at their disposal with a view to advance their field of study. They begin with a research question and attempt to determine the best possible strategies to answer it. Pragmatists aren't inherently subjectivist or objectivist; their approach depends on the research question. For the same reason, they may opt to use a large number of sources or choose to do case studies.

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This page was last edited on Monday, 15 Oct 2018 at 11:52 UTC