Pragmatism, Methodology and Politics of Research

Essay, 2017

7 Pages, Grade: 3


Introduction ... 3
Relationship between Pragmatism, Methodology, and Politics of Research ... 3
Similarities Linking the Research Methodologies ... 4
The Politics of Research ... 5
Conclusion ... 6
References ... 7

The field of research has been coupled by a myriad of unending debates since the time
immemorial. The centre of this discussion is in the methodologies used in social and
behavioural sciences. It has resulted in a significant divide between the advocates of either
the qualitative or quantitative paradigms. Keenly evaluating this dispute, it has resulted in
nothing substantial in the field of research rather than purists. Mono-method research,
however, is a significant challenge endangering the advancements in the social sciences. It is
highly divisive in that sense.
In my perspective, however, from experience gathered in the field of research and studies on
the methodologies employed in solving various research problems, I recommend the
pragmatism paradigm in addressing a particular research problem. As long as we expect our
research findings to be valued by the educational stakeholders, then we should not ignore the
significance and importance of utilising both qualitative and quantifiable research approaches
concurrently in our investigation in social and also in behavioural sciences. Though
pragmatism is a new research paradigm in the field of social and behavioural science, it
eliminates the confusion which for a long time has marred and characterised the research
paradigms. It possesses a significant challenge to researchers on choosing the appropriate
method to use in their research works.
Relationship between Pragmatism, Methodology, and Politics of Research
My perception of the inquiry into the relationship between pragmatism and the
methodologies is influenced by the works of John Dewey. In his address on the political
concerns, John Dewey links pragmatism and the social equality. He is opposed to the mixed-
method research which emphasises more on the practical rather than philosophical nature of
pragmatism. He is keen on bringing out the philosophical aspect of the paradigm of
pragmatism (John Dewey, 1925 a/2008)
The fundamental question to scholars and students, however, has remained which school of
thought to adapt to concerning research methodologies, particularly in social and behavioural
sciences. My arguments would be futile if I fail to evaluate these research methodologies and
establish their relationship to answer my thesis statement.
There are many links left for the researchers to connect concerning the methodologies used in
social sciences field of research. To begin with, though MMR is linked to pragmatism

paradigm, it puts more emphasis on the practical part of research methods, therefore ignoring
the philosophical background of the pragmatism. On the other hand, we have qualitative and
quantitative research methods. In these, the antagonism lies between choosing which one is
relevant in the social science research. Many students have been fixated to accept as true the
incompatibility theory (Howe, 1988) which postulates the paradigms ought not to be mixed.
The result is a rise of purists who exercise only one model in their research problems.
Purists tend to emphasise more on the differences between each methodology. However,
what they end up forgetting is drawing the many similarities that do exist between these
methods. For example, Rossman and Wilson (1985) note that various schools of thoughts
have come up due to these brawls between qualitative and qualitative paradigm wars. These
schools include; pragmatists, purists and situationists. The schools have evolved depending
on the degree to which individual parties believe qualitative and quantitative paradigms can
co-exist. Purists hold that qualitative and quantitative approaches shouldn't be mixed. (Smith,
1993), (Smith &Heshusius,1986). My interests are on the pragmatists who believe in
integrating these methods within one study (Creswell, 1995). Both qualitative and
quantitative research methods possess some strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, it is
fundamentally essential to utilise the advantages of both approaches to understanding each
social phenomenon in question better. In fact, each research question ought to dictate what
research method to use in that perspective (Miles &Huberman, 1984).
Similarities Linking the Research Methodologies
According to Owuegbuzie, 2003, much of quantitative-qualitative deliberations have been
engulfed by controversies which have significantly contributed to dividing, rather than
illuminating. It has led to a significant challenge to researchers especially when it comes to
deciding the best method to use.
To authenticate pragmatism paradigm, I emphasise on the pragmatic study into the
similarities that exist between qualitative and quantitative approaches which form the base for
every social science investigation. If the similarities between the two methods are more than
the differences, why then should we put more weight on the just few variances, hence
confuse educational researchers? Purists are infiltrated never to see these numerous
similarities due to their proliferation of only one particular methodology.
Excerpt out of 7 pages


Pragmatism, Methodology and Politics of Research
Bilgi University İstanbul  (Communication)
Inquiry of knowledge
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
459 KB
politics, methods, research, communication
Quote paper
Bora Kurum (Author), 2017, Pragmatism, Methodology and Politics of Research, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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