Different kinds of paradigms in Social Research

Different kinds of paradigms in Social Research

As opposed to the exact sciences research in the field of sociology can’t be considered in a single way only. Thus, research in the social field needs to establish a framework before it is planned and implemented.

Based on Thomas Kuhn, a research paradigm is a researcher’s viewpoint as well as belief and agreement on the way in which the research question is defined and analysed. Egon G. Guba categorizes Social research as a paradigm in three parts, specifically epistemology and ontology as well as methodologies.

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Ontology explores what research seeks to discover. Epistemology explores ways in which this information can be found out. In the meantime, methodologies search for ways to discover something.

Which are three roles in research? Epistemology and ontology aid us to identify the best way to approach the research issue and also the best way to gain this knowledge or information. In contrast methodologies are a technique that we use in order to answer questions using research data.

In accordance with these three categories there five research paradigms that can be identified, including constructivism, positivism, subjectivism, pragmatism and critique.


The belief of this type is that the real and the facts of a particular phenomenon are one. This truth can be assessed with a reliable and accurate instrument. So, research that is positive typically utilizes a quantitative approach.

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Contrary to positivism constructivism argues that there isn’t a single truth or reality. Social reality is perceived by both groups and individuals therefore the results can differ. Research conducted using constructivism generally employs the qualitative method.


The pragmatism perspective believes that the reality of life isn’t fixed , as it is always being debated, negotiated and then interpreted. The pragmatism paradigm is thought to be a mixture of the perspectives of positivism and constructivism. In general, this type of research employs a combination qualitative and quantitative method.

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Subjectivism is based on the assumption that truth is what researchers believe to be the truth. This is why the beliefs and opinions of research scholars are considered crucial in research. The subjectivism paradigm is commonly utilized in the techniques of archeology, speech analysis genealogy, deconstructivism and archeology.


The critical paradigm posits the social system is one constructed by the control of powerful parties. The kinds of research that follow this model are critical discourse analysis, ideology critique as well as critical ethnography.

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