Positivism And. Two Approaches Of Interpreting Social Reality

1760 Words Nov 30th, 2015 8 Pages
Alexis Tandazo
Farnoush Mozafari
SOCI 3060
1 December 2015

Positivism and interpretivism are two approaches of interpreting social reality, that each employ different methods of research and data collection to better help understand the study of human lived experiences. The positivist-interpretivist debate revolves around the ways in which human behavior should be conceptualized and studied (Pruss 1996: 4). Positivism is the most widely practiced research approach in social science, which regards the nature of social reality independent of consciousness. Positivists believe social reality can be studied independently from the researcher and that social life can be represented using numbers that according to positivists reveal features of social reality. On the other hand, interpretivists favor partipcant observation, interviews and social interaction where the researcher immerses into the informant’s reality to gain knowledge of their everyday human lived experiences.

Auguste Comte coined the term, positive philosophy in the 17th century, as a way that social phenomena can be studied, measured and understood like physical objects by using scientific methods. Comte was concerned with employing the methods and insights of physical science to establish a vital new moral order (Pruss 1996: 5) Therefore, the positivist ontology believes that the world is external and that which cannot be measured does not exist. (McLuhan 2015: 2) Therefore, positivists take an organized…
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