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Transcript of paradigmatic controversies, contradictions, and emerging confluences

  • 1. PARADIGMATIC CONTROVERSIES/ CONTRADICTIONS/ AND EMERGING CONFLUENCES Yvonna S. Lincoln and Egon G. Guba n our chapter for the first edition of the sharply from those undergirding conventional Handbook of Qualitative Research, we fo- social science. Second, even those est::~blished cused on the contention among various re- professionals trained in quantitative social sci-search paradigms for legitimacy and intellectual ence (including the two of us) want to learnand p;uadigmatic hegemony (Guba & Lincoln, more about qualitative approaches, because new1994). The postmodern paradigms that we dis- young professionals being mentored in graduatecussed (postmodernist critical theory and con- schools are asking serious questions about andstructivism) 1 were in contention with the re- looking for guidance in qualitatively orientedceived positivist and postpositivist paradigms studies and dissertations. Third, the number offor legitimacy, and with one another for intellec- qualitative texts, research papers, workshops,tual legitimacy. In the half dozen years that have and training materials has exploded. Indeed, itelapsed since that chapter was published, sub- would be difficult to miss the distinct turn of thestantial change has occurred in the landscape of social sciences tow::~rd more interpretive,social scientific inquiry. postmodern, and criticalist practices and theo- On the matter of legitimacy, we observe that rizing (Bloland, 1989, 1995). This nonpositivistreaders familiar with the literature on methods orientation has created a context (surround) inand paradigms reflect a high interest in which virtually no study can go unchallenged byontologies and epistemologies that differ proponents of contending paradigms. Further, it 63
  • 2. 164 + PARADIGMS AND PERSPECTIVES IN TRANSITIONis obvious that the number of practitioners of l
  • 3. TABLE 6.1 Basic Belief (Metaphysics) of Alternative Inquiry Paradigms Item Positivism Postpostivism Critical Jheory eta/. Cons/ me I i vism ~-- --- ----- Ontology Naive realism- "rcal" C ritical realism-"real" reality Hisrorical real ism-virtual reality Relar i v ism-local reality but apprehendable but only imperfecrly and shaped by social, political, cultural, :llJJ spe.:ific con- probabilistically apprehendable economic, ethnic, and gender value~; structed realities crystallized over rime -------- Epistemology Dualist/obje cr iv isr; Modified dualist/objectivist; Transacrional/subjecti vist; value- Tramacrional/ findings true critical traditio n/community; mediated find ings subjectivist/ findings probably true crc:ared findings Methodology Expt:rimenral/ Modified ex perimental/ Dialogic/dialecrio.:al Hermeneurical/ manipulative; verification manipulative; critical mulriplism; di~1lecrical of hypotheses; chietly falsification of hypothesc:s; may quantitative methods include qualitative methods()Vl
  • 4. 0o, TABLE 6.2 Paradigm Positions on Selected Practical Issues . Item Positivism Postpositivism Critical Theory et ul. Cu11struct ivi sm Inquiry aim explanation: prediction and control critique :md transfo rmati on; understanding; reconstructio n restitmion and em:tnc1pation Nature of knowledge verified hypotheses establi shed nonb.lsified hypotheses that StnJCtural/ historical insights individual reconstructions :ISfacts o r laws are probable facts o r bws coalesci ng cuound cumemu> Knowledge accumubtion accrction- "building blocks " adding to "edifice of knowledge"; hisroric:~l revisionism; gcneral 111urc iniurmcd a nd sophist! gcncraliz.uions :111d c:lllsc-dfcct linkages izat io n by si nlibri ty l..a tc.:d; Vh.:arilHI!I experience Goodness or q11ality criteria conventional bmchm:trks oi "rigor": internal :tnd historic:tl situatcdncss; crosiun trustworrhiness and external validity, reliability, and objectivity of ignorance a nd misapprchcn authenticity sion; action stimul11s V:tlues excluded-influence denied indudcd- iorm:Jtive Ethics cxtrimic: tilt row:trd deception intrinsic: moral tilt toward intrmsic: process tilt wward revdation revelation; special prublerm Voice "disinterested scicmist" JS informer of d~cision makers, transformative intellectual" "passionate participant" a~ fa- policy makers, and change agents as :tdvocatc and activist cilitator oi multivoicc reco n- struction Ji-aining technical and quantitative; technical; qua mitativc and resoci aliz:~ ti un; qtJJlnative and qu:m titative; hiswry; substantive theories qualitative; substantive values oi altnmm and empowcrmelll theories Accommodation commensurable i 11COillll1ellSUr:~bJe Hegemony in comrul ui publication, funding, promotion, and tenure seeking rLcugniti on a11d input l ~-- - --- - - -
  • 5. fJaradigmatic Controversies, Contradictions, and Emerging Confluences + 16 7Or issues rn:1y be import:Jnt because new or ex- research will find echoes of many stre:.tms ofte nded theoretic::ll tnd/or field-oriented treat- thought come together in the extended table.ments for them are newly nailable-voice and What this means is that the categories, as Laurelretlexiviry are rwo such issues. Richardson (personal co mmunication, Septem- Taole 6.3 reprises the original Table 6.1 bur ber 12, 1998) has pointed out, "are fl uid, indeedad ds the axioms of the participatory paradigm what should be a category keeps altering, enlarg-proposed by Heron and Reason (1997). Table ing." She notes that "even JS [we] write, the6.4 deals wit~ seven issues and represents an boundaries between rhe paradigms are shifting."update of sele.:red issues first presented in the This is the paradigmatic equ ivalent of theold Table 6.2. "Voice" in the 1994 version of Ta- Geerrzian "blurring of genres" to which we re-ble 6.2 h::ts been renamed "inquirer posture," ferred earlier.and a redefined "voice" has been inserted in the Our own position is that o f the constructio n isrcurrent Table 6.5. In all cJses except "inquirer camp, loosely defined. We do nor believe that cri-posture," the entries for the Ptrticiparory para- teria for judging either "reality" or valid