Skip main navigation

£199.99 £139.99 for one year of Unlimited learning. Offer ends on 28 February 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply

Find out more

Philosophical bases of the two approaches

Philosophical bases of the two approaches
Hello, everyone. Welcome to this section. I’m Daisy Fan, from Bournemouth University. It’s is my great pleasure to be here and share with you about the research method. In this one, we would like to talk about the research design. Here are the objectives. The first one, we would like to understand the philosophical bases of the two approaches. Then, we would like to be aware of the main differences between qualitative and quantitative approaches. At last, we would like you to decide and to determine which kind approach is best for your own research. So, in section one, we have this objective to understand the philosophical bases of the two approaches. So look at this research wheel.
And in this wheel we have different stages in this research. So firstly, we’d like to start with selecting topic. I’m sure you have already learned about how to select topic in the previous section. And a good research topic should provide both theoretical and practical contributions. At the second one, it’s about to focus questions. When doing the research, we would like to use the literature review to narrow down our research questions. It’s like a funnel. We try to make the broader side of the literature. And then we decide several research questions. The third one is to design the study. And that’s the main part in this section. We’d like to design a whole process of the research design.
For example, which approach we are going to follow, what kind of data we would like to collect and how to interpret those data. So with this plan in mind, and the fourth one is to collect the data to implement this kind of plan. With the data in hand, we would like to analyze the data. And in this stage, we may want to involve different kind of softwares, for example, NVIVO, SPSS, AMOS, etc. After analyzing the data, we have the interpreting data. So with those findings, how do we understand it? How do we interpret it in our own ways?
And the last one, with those findings, how do we inform those end users, for example, those government officials, tour agents, how can they use our research findings. In our course, we’d like to cover all the different elements of this process. And definitely, the third one, designing the study is very important. So look at this picture. There are two persons looking at the same thing. One said “there’s four” and the other said “No, there’s only three sticks here”. So what does it mean? According to Marcus, “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth”. So that really interprets or demonstrates our ways of doing research.
We are human beings, we have different ways of thinking. So when we try to understand something, we try to follow our own approaches. That means the findings or the information we got at the end might be different according to different approaches. And prior to conducting any research, we would like to understand their paradigms. So many of the researchers nowadays, they ignore those research paradigms at first. But actually, this is very fundamental for us to conduct any research. So now let’s have a look of different definitions or concepts of the research paradigms. The first one, according to Kuhn, it’s the conceptual network through which scientists view the world.
And according to Guba, it’s a basic set of beliefs that guides action, whether of the everyday garden variety or action taken in connection with a disciplined inquiry. And according to Hughes, every research tool or procedure is embedded in commitments to particular versions of the world and ways of knowing that the world made by researchers. To understand those paradigms, we’d like to answer those three major questions. The first one is ontological. It means what is the nature of the reality. The second question is the epistemological. It means how do you know something. And the last question is about the methodological. It means how do we do about finding it out. And this flow provides a better understanding of the research paradigm.
So as we just said before, we start with the ontology, which means what is the reality in our study. And then for the second one, the epistemology, it means what and how can I know the reality. And then for the third one, the theoretical perspective, it means what approaches can we use to get the knowledge. And then, we get to understand our methodology for the whole study, which means what procedure can we use to acquire the knowledge. And then according to the methodology, we can decide what kind of method we would like to use to acquire the knowledge. For example, those tools like survey and like interview, observation, etc.
And the last one is about sources, which means what data can we collect? It’s like the interview data, or the questionnaire, the qualitative data. So that’s all decided one by one. And here we would like to show the two major research paradigms we used in our study. The first one is about the positivism. Positivists believe that there is a single reality which can be measured or known. Therefore, they are more likely to use the quantitative approaches to measure this reality. Comparatively, those constructivism or we call them the interpretivism, those people believe that there is no single reality or truth. Therefore, reality needs to be interpreted. By whom? The researchers, right?
And therefore, they are more likely to use the qualitative methods to get those multiple realities. And if we look at this table, we can see those differences between these two paradigms, right? So here are the three major questions we want to ask ourselves first. For the first one, the positivism, there is a single reality or choose, right? And the second one, for those constructivists, they believe that there’s no single reality or truth. Reality is created by individuals in the groups. For the second question, how can I know the reality? Positivism. They believe that reality can be measured. Hence, the focus is on reliable and valid tool to obtain that, right?
For second one, for the constructivists, they believe that reality needs to be interpreted. It is used to discover the underlying meaning of the events or activities. For the last question, the methodology. How do you go about finding it out? For the positivism, the experimental research or those large-scale survey research, they can achieve those goals, right? And for the constructivists, they believe those kinds of methods, for example, grounded theory. So for those kinds of tools, they may use two approaches in their research objectives. And that’s also we call those interpretive study. So, by the end of this section, I hope we may have a better understanding of different research paradigms.
And most importantly, I would like you to have a better understanding of the positivism and the constructivism, and their differences in conducting the research.

Welcome to week 2. In this week, you will meet two new educators, Professor Scott McCabe and Dr. Fan Daisy.

Professor Scott McCabe is the editor in chief of Annals of Tourism Research. In this week, he will take you into the research world of social tourism to help you have a preliminary understanding of research.

Dr. Fan Daisy is currently one of senior lecturers at the Department of Tourism And Hospitality, Bournemouth University, UK. Her research interests include sharing economics and social contact. In this week, She will share with you the philosophical bases of research, qualitative research and quantitative research.

Now let’s start with the first video of this week. In this video, you will learn about the different definitions or concepts of the research paradigms, especially positivism and constructivism, from Dr. Fan Daisy. Besides, you will know their differences in conducting the research.

By the end of this video, can you share with us the differences between positivism and constructivism you have learned?

Please feel free to leave a comment in the discussion area.

This article is from the free online

Research Methods in Tourism Studies

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education