Assumptions in Quantitative Research

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Advanced Studies in Quantitative Research |
Table of Contents
Introduction 3
Underlying Assumptions in Quantitative Research 3 Methodological and Ontological Assumptions 5 Epistemological Assumptions 8
Conclusion 9
References 10

Assumptions Underlying Quantitative Research

Before researchers undertake a research endeavor, it is essential for them to understand the philosophical assumptions that underlie the method of inquiry chosen to answer the proposed research question. Assumptions are ideas and beliefs taken for granted or accepted as true. They are based on some evidence but are without proof (Encarta World English Dictionary [North American Edition]). Burns and Grove (1997) and Polit and Hungler
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Ontologically the researcher assumes that the external reality is comprised of facts that are “law-like” and provide structure or a theoretical framework to this reality. Physics provides an example of this approach.
Methodological and Ontological Assumptions

Empirical-analytical inquiry is characterized by the researcher’s detached or objective view from the setting under study. This objectivity or detachment is, in part, due to the assumption that the object under study is separate from or independent of the researcher (Eisner, 1981; Smith, 1983a; Smith, 1983b). In the empirical analytical view, researchers adhere to the mind-reality duality and the mind is seen as separate from reality (Hathaway, 1995). Another way of considering objectivity is that of being theory neutral (Schumacher & Gortner, 1992). This is an extreme view and within the contemporary empirical analytical view, researchers would claim that most inquiry is theory laden (Smith, 1983b). However, with objectivity as the goal, the researcher strives to prevent biases throughout the research process and attempts to control the research design for validity, credibility, and reliability (Burns & Grove, 1997). While it is impossible to achieve complete objectivity, cultivating an awareness of potential threats and taking measures to decrease threats whenever possible serves to strengthen the research project.
It is important to underscore the intertwined nature of the assumption
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