There are three types of research paradigms. These include positivism, interpretivism, and mixed paradigm which is a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods. In recent years, these methodological paradigms have been a source of controversy. Scholars have taken the peace, war, and coalition positions to determine which of these paradigms is most effective. This paper takes the position that the coalition position is the current position that describes that currently describes the field of research methodology today.
First of all, different researchers have advocated for different methodological paradigms both education and the social sciences. Critics have argued that many research methodologies are biased towards the dominant forces within society. Many have argued that qualitative research is not value-free because it is based on the values and opinions of the dominant sociopolitical forces within society. Critics maintain that qualitative research methods are not reflective of reality. This is because qualitative research methodologies arbitrarily exclude minority forces within society. This has promoted competing interests between researchers who have tried to justify qualitative researchers and those who have argued that there is a need for researchers to move away from this type of research methodology.
The competing interest between the proponents and exponents of qualitative research methodology has led to the integration of natural sciences into the research methodologies that are being used in the field today. Positivist research methodologies have been considered to be more credible and more reflective of reality compared to non-positivist research methodologies.
Many might take the position that the conflict that is within the research field today between qualitative and quantitative researchers makes war the most dominant position in terms of research methodological paradigms. However, the fact remains that both schools of thoughts have to a large extent tried to compromise and adopt the key areas which they believe would make their research more credible. This has not necessarily created peace because they are still key areas of conflict within this amalgamation process. Therefore, the best position that would describe research methodological paradigms today is coalition. This is because this position involves the combination of both positivist research methodology and qualitative research methods.
The coalition of both positivist and qualitative research methodologies has allowed both inductive and deductive research methodologies to be used in research. However, the advantage of combining these two research methodologies is that generalist research hypothesis can now be substantiated using empirical data whose patterns and trends can be traced over a prolonged period of time (Hodkinson & Macleod, 2010, p.13). This means that a coalition research methodology has given the space to both qualitative and quantitative researchers to adopt better research methodologies.
In conclusion, there exist a conflict between positivist and qualitative researchers both in academic and sociological research fields. However, the changing paradigms in the field of research have allowed a coalition of research methodologies from both schools of thoughts. This has allowed both empirical and normative research methodologies to be used in research. This progress within researchers is meant to make research less value-free so that it is not only reflective of the dominant sociopolitical research methodologies but is accommodating to other minority forces within society that had been arbitrarily excluded through qualitative research methodologies.
Hodkinson, P. and Macleod, F. (2010). Contrasting Concepts of Learning and Contrasting Research Methodologies: Affinities and Bias. British Educational Research Journal. 36 (2), p13-17.