positivism and constructivism, the Matrix of eLearning (well it feels like this to me)

I’m in the process of starting what will hopefully be one of my last modules within the fantastic MSc Blended and Online Education (BOE). This module – Educational Research Methods and Practice is effectively preparing us (the students) for writing and researching our dissertations.

In order to be more efficient practitioners of research we examine for a number of weeks, the philosophy of research design. There are two main philosophical viewpoints; positivism and constructivism.

I’m still in the process of digesting the information of the first 4 videos (its nearly half nine at night and I’m tired, so no more videos tonight), and the over riding theme through all of them is our social perception or interaction with reality (this is where it goes a bit Matrixy). Even Ontology (the study of existence) is covered and how this relates to the two viewpoints. Both have contrasting implications when used in research; for example positivism suggests that research progresses through hypotheses, theory and past experience, which can then be  deductively examined and tested. Whilst constructivism, suggests gathering rich data and making sense of it in an inductive process.

I may be rushing to conclusions, but so far in terms of a philosophical viewpoint, I find myself leaning towards positivism, as it has the deductive reasoning and reduces units of analysis to simple terms.

I will re-watch the videos and of course read the associated reading, before making any final decisions. In this entry, I have briefly given my thoughts regarding this subject. In future blog entries I will explore each philosophy in greater detail, until then I feel a bit like Neo when he encountered the Matrix architect.

I’m looking forward to learn more.




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