Positionality: Scientific Method and Research

3342 Words Dec 27th, 2008 14 Pages
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In Partnership with University of Wales, Lampeter

A Critical Review of My Positionality and Its Impact On The Research I Undertake

Business Research Methods
MBA2010-L-A1

Submitted By: - Suraj Rai

Student ID: - 072078 - 77

University ID: - 27003380
Abstract

In this paper I have tried to explain the concept of positionality and its various parameters like emic and etic, positivist, interpretivist, empiricist and rationalist, constructivist and reductionist. Then, I tried to analyze my positionality on the basis of these points and how these will effect on the research that I select and the methodologies that I choose. Society in which I grew up, religion, beliefs, norms and values that I accepted, race, language,
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In other words, who I am determines, to a large extent, what I want to study.’

I am, as a researcher, a product of who I am as a person, and who I am as a person is a result of my race, class, gender, and sexuality. I am the researcher I am because I have experienced life in a certain manner. Additionally, what I believe about research cannot be separated from who I am (Harding, 1987).

Mehra (2002) explains further –‘A researcher's personal beliefs and values are reflected not only in the choice of methodology and interpretation of findings, but also in the choice of a research topic. In other words, what we believe in determines what we want to study.’

Positivism verses Interpretivism Approach:

“Interpretive research begins and ends with the biography and self of the researcher." (Denzin, 1989, p.12). The positivist researcher is not affected by the subject of the research because he makes generalizations. (Saunders, 2003 p. 83). When the investigator is a positivist, he tends to use methods like experiments, surveys and field studies to generate data. In this approach, the interviewer is more likely to be an outsider which means that the investigator does not have any relation with the study group.

From the other point of view, interpretivism is about opinions, views and perceptions the people experience in every day life. For example, people interpretation happens according to the situation in which they experiences; which means the way