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BUSI304 Report on Research Paradigm: Business Research Methods Assessment 2 Answer

Subject Name: Business Research Methods 

Assessment Title: Assessment 2 — Essay on research paradigm 

Weighting: 35 % 

Length: 3000 words

COURSE: Master of Business (Research) 

Unit: Business Research Methods 

Unit Code: BUSI304 

Type of Assessment: Assessment 2 — Report on research paradigm 

Unit Learning Outcomes addressed: (a) Demonstrate a critical appreciation of the major steps involved in conducting research. (b) Demonstrate an extended understanding of various business research designs and methods and be able to evaluate and explain their strengths and weaknesses in research designs for particular projects. (c) Demonstrate a critical appreciation of ethical issues in research and an advanced understanding of appropriate procedures and protocols applicable to these issues. (0) Critically review and evaluate research literature. (e) Design research for a particular project, explaining the limitations, advantages, and technical and ethical implications of the techniques employed. (f) Select, justify and design questions suitable for a survey instrument and be able to analyse survey data in relation to a particular research question. (g) Prepare a formal research proposal investigating an innovative and/or unresolved research question. 

Criteria for Assessment: 

• Knowledge and Understanding • Content and exploration of theories and ideas • Analysis, synthesis and critical engagement • Technical skills and referencing 

Assessment Task: 

Using particular research methodologies raises many philosophical questions for researchers about the nature of reality, how knowledge is constructed the role of value in research and how research should be conducted. Identify relevant research philosophies or paradigms and investigate their epistemology, ontology, axiology and their implications for methodology (research design, data collection, etc.) selection.

Your essay must focus on contentious and problematic issues, therefore they must contain a well-argued case with an appropriate structure and obey academic conventions regarding referencing, etc. Although you may use any scholarly sources, the following are list of readings you can use to support your arguments.



In the area of research, researchers use some particular methods to conduct research. In the view of e Fonseca et al., (2016), the methodology is a set of specific procedures or techniques that are used in the area of research to accomplish a study in an organised way. The primary purpose of using research methods is to provide a specific structure to the research through which readers can evaluate the validity and reliability of research critically.  Business research methods are the gathering of information for any particular research phenomena in order to analyse any issue. Therefore, this paper will shed light on different research paradigms in detail.  

Research paradigm can be described as a set of shared beliefs in any specific area of research. There are mainly four types of research paradigms that are widely used in research. They are positivism, interpretivism, realism and pragmatism. This paper is going to discuss these four research paradigms. Along with this, there will be a detailed investigation on the epistemology, axiology and ontology of each of these paradigms. In addition, the implications for the methodology of these paradigms will be discussed as well. Lastly, a recommendation will be added, sum up the major points of this paper.  

1. Positivism

Positivism is a research philosophy that uses to claim that an objective way can be applied for understanding the social world. It also uses to claim that the selection of philosophy for research is mostly get determined by the research problem. It depends on several quantifiable observations which lead to statistical analyses. According to Žukauskas, Vveinhardt & Andriukaitienė (2018), as research philosophy, positivism uses to adhere to the viewpoint that only the ‘factual’ knowledge gathered via observation (by using the senses) and measurement is trustworthy. In the studies developed on positivism research philosophy, the researcher plays a limited role in data collection and its interpretation in an objective manner. In this particular research philosophy, all practical and real-world results are treated as important. The five fundamental principles positivism follows include research need to aim to predict and explain. No differences are there in the logic of inquiry across sciences; research must empirically observable through human senses; science should be value-free. It also needs to be logically judged, and science is different from common sense, and thus, science should be used for gathering research findings to eliminate bias.

Epistemology: Positivism epistemology assumes that the 'facts' that get derived from applying the scientific method can legitimately make knowledge claims. Also, it assumes that the researcher stands separate from the research and is not gets affected by the outcomes of research (Igi-global, 2020). Thus, it is a scientific method and considers measurable and observable facts that lead research findings to become quantifiable and observable in nature. It supports prediction and causal explanation as a contribution.

Ontology: Ontology is the belief that is included in this paradigm of research philosophy. As per Berryman (2019), the positivist ontology considers the world as external and every research phenomenon attached to a single objective reality regardless of belief or perspective of the researcher. In relation to positivism, it refers to what kinds of things are present in the current social world as well as the assumptions related to the nature and form of such social reality. It leads researchers to follows an ordered format while applying a positivism research philosophy in conducting social research.

Axiology: This is another method of applying positivism research philosophy to conduct research. Axiology uses to refer to the ethical issues which require to be considered while planning a proposal for research. It leads a researcher to perform value-free research. While using this method, a researcher remains neutral, detached, and completely independent of the topic being researched. Through this method, a researcher uses to maintain an objective stance. Overall, axiology leads positivists to believe research can be or is value-neutral or value-free(Research-Methodology, 2020).

Implications for methodology

A research philosophy like positivism stands as a belief regarding the way through which data about a particular phenomenon needs to be collected, analysed, and interpreted for generating a solid conclusion. As per Alharahsheh & Pius (2020), positivism research philosophy plays a vigorous role in setting research hypotheses. During discussion and studies, positivism research philosophy follows a unique and well-defined structure. This philosophy leads its users or the positivists to believe that as there are some prefixed rules and laws get followed, the chances of error and bias is very less or minimal. This particular structure of positivism research philosophy also provides little room for changes in variables and variance, thus makes the research more accurate and reliable when it comes to applications preceded by experiments. This is because it tries to follow some specific rules by using objective scientific and mathematical tools. Overall, the application of this particular research philosophy makes a research methodology well-structured, reliable, real, and scientific.  

A research philosophy like positivism stands as a belief regarding the way through which data about a particular phenomenon needs to be collected, analysed, and interpreted for generating a solid conclusion. Positivism relies upon survey method or exploratory process of research as research design and quantitative data collection, which indicates that positivists believe in more reliable data that are real and scientific in nature. This makes the research more reliable in comparison to qualitative research as it considers quantitative data. As this philosophy uses quantitative data, it follows quantitative research which makes it more real and scientific compared to qualitative data-based research (Brannen, 2017). The use of quantitative data collection under this philosophy makes researchers more trustworthy and closer to reality. Also, researches based on positivism philosophy, quantitative data uses to provide objective information that can be used by researchers in making scientific assumptions.

2. Interpretivism

Interpretivism philosophy of research is developed on the principle that states that a researcher uses to perform a particular role in the task of observing the social world. In view of Ryan (2018), this particular research philosophy says when researchers follow this philosophy, the research depends and is based on the interests of the researcher. This philosophy considers that individuals are complex and intricate. They understand the same kind of objective reality in a different manner and have different or individual reasons behind their actions.  According to Alharahsheh & Pius (2020), this philosophy involves the concept that interpretive researchers use to assume that access to reality can be made possible only through social constructions like shared meanings, consciousness, languages and instruments. This particular philosophy of research is developed on the basis of the critique of positivism in social science. This philosophy believes that knowledge and truth are subjective in nature. 

Epistemology: Epistemology of interpretivism refers to the way of applying interpretivism philosophy in research. The epistemology of interpretivism says that interpretivists are found to be quite interested in contextualised and specific environments, as well as they, acknowledge that knowledge and reality are not objective, but both are influenced by individuals within such an environment. As per interpretivism, epistemology reality gets understood through perceived knowledge, and researchers think critically, biographically, and historically (Research-Methodology, 2020). Epistemology in interpretivism also involves the concept that researchers seek to understand the concrete and specific context.

Ontology: The ontology of interpretivism philosophy is referred to the fundamental concept upon which interpretivism philosophy is developed. The state of interpretivism in relation to ontology is that the interpretivists use to believe that the reality is relative and multiple. They also believe that the researcher, as well as his informants, are mutually interactive and interdependent. The interpretive researchers enter the field with some prior insight associated with the context of the research but assume it insufficient to develop a permanent research design for multiple, unpredictable, and complex nature reality. Thus, the ontology of interpretivism says that interpretivists or the researchers following interpretivism philosophy of research avoid rigid structural frameworks while conducting research. Also, interpretivists use to adapt relativist ontology, where a single phenomenon has different interpretations (Research-Methodology, 2020).

Axiology: In support of the statement made by (), the axiology of interpretivism says that this particular research philosophy leads to value-bound research. This philosophy considers researchers' interpretations as key contributions to research and researchers as the part of what needs to be researched, which is subjective in nature. Axiology of interpretivism denotes that interpretivists are reflexive and value empathy. 

Implications for methodology

Interpretivism research philosophy emphasises human relationships and thus, focuses on social context to develop research design. A qualitative research design is followed while following interpretivism research philosophy. Thereforethe interview method is required to be applied as a research method, and exploratory research design needs to be followed. Interpretivism philosophy is straightforward and simple. Its application helps the researchers to get information from the interviewee easily. Organisation analysis is significant by this method as it helps to analyse the sociological paradigms and provide reliable results (Burrell, & Morgan, 2017). It facilitates researchers to understand how and why the research needs to get conducted, and thus, it helps the researcher to set the most suitable research design. It helps the researchers to develop an effective research design considering and understanding the social processes by applying their perceived knowledge and thinking that they made critically, biographically, and historically. During designing the method of research, this philosophy assists researchers in considering the contextual and complex factors. Interpretivism research philosophy supports the qualitative research method and qualitative data collection, which is conducted through interviewing research participants over face-to-face or telephonic or online conversation on the research topic. It allows researchers to collect valuable data by investigating and interviewee’s thoughts, prejudices, values, perceptions, feelings, views, and perspectives (Hennink, Hutter & Bailey, 2020). Thus, it allows researchers to collect valuable data for the research that can provide better insights to the researcher for future actions.perspectives

3. Realism

Realism is a notion which reflects something real. As per McPhail & Lourie (2017), in philosophy, realism stands as the viewpoint that uses to accord to things that are perceived or known an existence which is completely independent of others. The realism philosophy of research uses to rely on the idea related to the independent presence of reality from the human mind. Realism philosophy is developed on a scientific approach's assumptions for knowledge development. There are two types of realism used in research such as direct realism and critical realism. Direct realism uses to portray this world through the personal senses of human beings. On the other hand, critical realism says that humans use to experience the images and sensations of the real world. Realism is a series of assumptions that people bring for empirical investigation. This philosophy allows researchers to choose research methods that effectively fit the research topic or subject matter. It allows researchers to conduct qualitative or quantitative research whatever they prefer.

Epistemology: The epistemology of realism research philosophy says that it is based on epistemological relativism. The knowledge gets used while using this particular research philosophy is situated historically and transient. It depends on social constructions and facts(Research-Methodology, 2020). The realism philosophy of research considers historical causal explanations as contributions

Ontology: According to the ontology of realism research philosophy, this particular philosophy is layered or stratified, that is, the actual, the real, and the empirical. It makes realism claim that independent external reality is there that relates to what the individual may understand or think it to be. The research conducted by following realism research philosophy use to follow the objective structure as the ontology of realism says that the structure of realism philosophy is objective(Research-Methodology, 2020). Moreover, the ontology of realism also says that the causal mechanism is followed by this philosophy.  

Axiology: The axiology of realism research philosophy says that it promotes value-laden researches. This philosophy allows researchers to acknowledge bias by cultural experience, upbringing, and world views. While applying this philosophy, researchers try to minimise the volume or degree of errors and bias, which ultimately led them to develop concrete and highly reliable findings and conclusions(Research-Methodology, 2020). The application of this philosophy makes researchers objective to a great extent throughout the research. 

Implications for methodology

As per Ryan (2018), research philosophy uses to play a pivotal role in research design as it assists the researcher to understand the research topic properly and it leads researchers to develop assumptions that assist them to determine research strategy and methods. The selection of research philosophy is completely dependent on the nature of the research. While considering realism research philosophy, researchers consider scientific inquiry to develop research design. Realists always tend to believe that whatever they believe at present is only stands as an approximation of reality, but the accuracy of understanding can be improved and to do so, the scientific inquiry needs to be conducted. In the realism paradigm of research, a mixed method of research can be selected by the researchers or the exploratory design. Here, the researcher needs to select descriptive research which makes the researcher capable of collecting the required amount of data from different sources (qualitative or quantitative, or both). As a mixed research method seems suitable while applying realism research philosophy, the researcher needs to apply a combination of survey, interview, observation, experiments, or focus group. This particular research philosophy helps researchers to develop effective research designs that fully support scientific inquiry. Realism research philosophy supports qualitative and quantitative data collection methods (Creswell& Creswell, (2017). The researchers using this philosophy can use either qualitative or quantitative data collection methods to gather qualitative or quantitative data. For quantitative data collection, the researchers commonly use survey, and for qualitative data collection, they generally use the interview method (Brannen, 2017).

4. Pragmatism

As mentioned by Cleaveland & Hampson, (2017), pragmatic research paradigm defines a worldview which emphasises on majorly "what works" rather than which are considered objectively as "real" or "truth". Along with this, pragmatism research can be considered as a deconstructive paradigm which uses a mixed method of research to be conducted. Apart from this, pragmatism is a research paradigm that is actually developed on the basis of the proposition. In this paradigm, researchers use the philosophical and methodological approach as per the research issue to achieve an appropriate outcome. Pragmatist researchers use this method to recognise the limitations of research methods and different approaches as well (Bell Bryman, & Harley,2018). Most of the researchers use pragmatism research philosophy because it allows the researcher to choose appropriate research methods according to the research issue from the wide range of qualitative and quantitative research processes. 


Pragmatist epistemology is a way of applying pragmatism philosophy in research. In the view of Morrison, (2016), pragmatist epistemology defines that every knowledge is constructed on the basis of particular experiences. In terms of epistemology, it can be mentioned that pragmatism paradigm is not associated with any particular system of philosophy and reality. In pragmatism, epistemology structures the knowledge by considering the endpoint of human thought and considers the knowledge-seeking process along with the definition of improvement.    


The study of ontology is based on the existing knowledge, which is developed on Ontology. The pragmatist researchers majorly find the answer to the existing research question. Therefore, pragmatism research paradigm is connected with the ontology study as ontology can be defined as a distinctive pragmatist methodology. Mitchell (2018), claims in this matter that the view of the pragmatist researcher is that the existing research questions are easy to answer and ontological debates misguided the researchers in this case. On the other hand, pragmatism research is a philosophy of science and also it is not bounded in science only rather a distinctive metaphysics knowledge is also gathered through pragmatism. This knowledge is implied from a flexible form of social ontology. 


Axiology is one of the philosophical bases of the pragmatism research paradigm. The major reason for considering axiology on the basis of pragmatism is because values are produced through humans. Different humans provide different values on the same object. In every generation, new values are created, and solutions are provided through axiology in pragmatism research philosophy to deal with new issues. However, not every person gets the same outcome. Therefore, as per the pragmatist researchers, ethical values are investigated through axiology in pragmatism and then accepted by others. The major focus of axiology is on the knowledge of human life, wisdom, freedom, well-being and others in pragmatism philosophy.  

Implications for methodology selection

In the pragmatism paradigm, research designs are selected by focusing on the research question as in this case, and the focus is on real-world research. Therefore, research questions are investigated properly with the help of the chosen research design. In order to accomplish research on the basis of the pragmatism research paradigm, a mixed research method which acts as the explanatory design is followed notably by the researcher. This research method is used as a mixed research method grounded with the pragmatism elements. Through this single approach, it is possible to gather different elements of research paradigms together. Therefore, both qualitative and quantitative study is arranged in order to conduct a study with these paradigms. As per the view of Alavi & Hąbek, (2016), a mixed research method is collecting and analysing the research data by integrating the qualitative and quantitative both methods to expand the strength of the conclusion of the research study. Similarly, in pragmatism research paradigm, the mixed method brings different elements of pragmatism together to generate research evidence which is developed through best practice. Apart from this, different data collection approaches are also used in pragmatism research such as interview method, observation technique, testing, experimentation and others (Žukauskas, Vveinhardt & Andriukaitienė, 2018). All these methods are effective to gather the accurate outcome of research through pragmatism philosophy. 


The paper has focused on different research paradigms that are used in order to generate a research study. From the entire discussion, it can be stated that particular research methodologies are used for analysing particular research phenomena. Through the research problem, paradigms are chosen by the researcher and applied accordingly to achieve the outcome. In positivist research, the basic method of research is quantitative. Although in this research paradigm, the qualitative research method is also used, still quantitative is dominant. Experiments, half experiments, tears, scales and others are used as research approaches. Through examining the theory of the research, positivist researchers gather the result of research issues.  

From the discussion, it has also been found that in the interpretivism research paradigm, qualitative method is dominant, although the quantitative method is also used in some cases. For this purpose, researchers use document analysis, image data study, interview method, observation technique and others. Social and interpretation theories are provided concentration in this paradigm. Apart from this, in realism philosophy, also both quantitative and qualitative study is focused, and scientific approaches are used to develop the knowledge in research. Lastly, in pragmatism method, qualitative and quantitative both, methods are used equivalently as the major data collection technique of this paradigm is a mixed research method. 

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