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.hide-if-no-js { Both type of research cannot be solved using one paradigm. This paper has picked out interpretivism and pragmatism as two possible and important research paradigms for qualitative research in information systems. Moreover, as the research progresses, the initial emphasis on ‘what works’ has potential to expand, enabling researchers to map the consequences or meanings of social action for different individuals in an organization. In Project example 1, pragmatism helped identify the need to engage deeply with staff at the project implementation level. Qualitative research is often associated with interpretivism, but alternatives do exist. Our research projects were driven by intentions to make valuable contributions to NGOs. In both project examples, the adoption of a pragmatist approach was closely intertwined with establishing research objectives. Rather than becoming mired in discussions regarding generalizability, pragmatism looks more practically at the applicability of the research to other contexts and settings (Morgan, 2007). (2015), ‘Pragmatism provides a richer and more realistic view of human behaviour than the ones used by rationalist and structuralist accounts’ (p. 4). discussion of the appropriateness of pragmatism as a paradigm for conducting BAR. One of the researchers (Project example 2) drew strongly on concepts from other disciplines so she felt she could add value to NGOs by helping them cross a disciplinary border. Her PhD research on programme evaluation in small NGOs provides one of the project examples for this article. This paradigm is totally opposite to positivist paradigm and constructivism. Although early anthropological qualitative research may be said to have been guided by the val­ ues of positivism, qualitative research over time and discipline has largely dismissed positivism as a real­ istic possibility in the qualitative endeavor. Pragm… Grounding these research project examples in pragmatism provides a number of benefits as explicated above. It has given social science research a broader spectrum. Following Dewey, pragmatism has contributed to movements such as symbolic interactionism, action research and grounded theory. Realities are multiple, constructed, and holistic. Pragmatism: A lived and living philosophy. As noted earlier, one of the critiques levelled against pragmatism is the lack of a clearly articulated logic about who decides what knowledge is legitimate and useful. In social science research, Pragmatic Paradigm was proposed as a philosophical basis for mixed methods research, supporting a third option to qualitative and quantitative methods dichotomy. The knowledge gained can be analyzed to know what part of the knowledge can be applied to another similar circumstance in another settings. Simply select your manager software from the list below and click on download. Similarly, the gurus of qualitative research, Denzin and Lincoln (2000), define paradigms as human constructions, which deal with first principles or ultimates indicating where the researcher is coming from so as to construct meaning embedded in data. And it depends on the context …, Your email address will not be published. Pragmatic inquiry recognizes that individuals within social settings (including organizations) can experience action and change differently, and this encourages them to be flexible in their investigative techniques (Onwuegbuzie and Leech, 2005). ResearchArticles.com This iterative prioritization process was important for respondents but also important for enhancing the relevance and potential transferability of the research findings, an important aspect of pragmatism (Kelly, 2019c; Morgan, 2007). This focus on ‘socially shaped’ (Morgan, 2014b: 1047) behaviour enables a more holistic view of organizational processes as well as determining how researchers engage with different groups of respondents. [Google Scholar] Mullen, Edward. This article explicates pragmatism as a relevant and useful paradigm for qualitative research on organizational processes. Members of _ can log in with their society credentials below, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (. Moreover, by encouraging organizational stakeholders to trace out the likely consequences of different understandings or actions, we were able to gain a more detailed understanding of the phenomena under investigation. For more information view the SAGE Journals Sharing page. In doing so, it also addresses the political concerns that link pragmatism and social justice. Instead, he views research as a form of inquiry that is performed more carefully and more self-consciously than most other human responses to problematic situations to the external environment (Dewey, 2008 [1910]). The authors’ doctoral projects on non-government organizations are used as examples to examine how the application of these principles strengthen each stage of the research process from project design and data collection to data analysis, conclusions and dissemination. The pragmatic paradigm originated in the United States in the late 19th century. Inter-subjectivity made it possible for new ways to solve social science problems and hypothesis.  =  A paradigm is essentially a worldview, a whole framework of beliefs, values and methods within which research takes place. A diversity of methods offered a framework to map, triangulate and sequence the research problem against diverse NGO contexts. Hence, it was important for the researchers to develop a relationship of openness to surface new perspectives rather than prompt or direct respondents. Constructivist believe that there is a strong difference between qualitative research and qualitative research. The principles are drawn from existing literature and similar categorizations of pragmatist methodology developed by theorists such as Friedrichs and Kratochwil (2009) and Morgan (2014b). This also … In addition, as both researchers are practitioners within the NGO sector, we were keenly aware of NGOs’ limited resources and were concerned about our use of NGOs’ time. We thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful clarifications and additions. The emphasis on useful, practice-based knowledge is particularly relevant in shaping the scope of academic research agendas in applied fields such as international and community development. In fact, as noted above, the classical pragmatism movement originated to focus inquiry on issues of human significance rather than on metaphysical debates about the nature of truth and reality (Patton, 2005). In Project example 1, pragmatism effected sequencing by allowing a level of flexibility unusual in many other frameworks. In social science research, Pragmatic Paradigm was proposed as a philosophical basis for mixed methods research, supporting a third option to qualitative and quantitative methods dichotomy. Pragmatism can be more suitable than other major philosophical approaches to probe this ‘inner world’ of organizational processes as first, it emphasizes that knowledge is based on experience; and second, it encourages the researchers to analyse organizational practices through experience as well as action. The Qualitative Paradigm . In pragmatic paradigm the researchers use both qualitative and quantitative methodology in a sequential manner. This necessitated a qualitative approach with interviews and participant observation of programme staff, to supplement the limited formal documentation. Find out about Lean Library here, If you have access to journal via a society or associations, read the instructions below. Note that I have capitalized these two terms to distinguish them from the more technical issues deal- ing with qualitative and quantitative methods. Epistemologically, pragmatism is premised on the idea that research can steer clear of metaphysical debates about the nature of truth and reality and focus instead on ‘practical understandings’ of concrete, real-world issues (Patton, 2005: 153). The study contexts are complex, requiring investigation of multiple perspectives and building variation into techniques and analytical schemes. Indeed, transferability is often claimed to be the strength of qualitative research (Lincoln and Guba 1985).With pragmatism the transferability of the research is strengthened by both the breadth and the depth of the data provided by the connection of quantitative and qualitative approaches. Besides critical research and sometimes positivism, qualitative research in information systems can be performed following a paradigm of pragmatism. The paradigm wars between these approaches often encouraged the application of rigid methodological frameworks and the temptation of creating ‘one … As noted by Farjoun et al. For both of our doctoral projects, there was a risk that individual interpretations, such as the views of NGO leaders on organizational processes, would skew the data collection process. Organizational strategies that were only considered useful in specific NGOs were analysed qualitatively and using case study–based analytical procedures. By continuing to browse Revisiting our three key principles (an emphasis on actionable knowledge; recognition of the interconnectedness of experience, knowing and acting; and inquiry as an experiential process), helped ensure that sampling decisions made would add towards knowledge generation and provide useful information that could be invested immediately into practice. This tenet was central to both projects as we embarked on these research projects with the aim of finding respondent-driven solutions to real-world problems. Pragmatists believe that there cannot be a single reality but multiple realities. By exploring the use of pragmatism for research on organizational processes, this article works towards ameliorating the lack of practical case studies regarding the application of epistemological frameworks in social research. This nuanced approach to pragmatism has been comprehensively defined and discussed in more recent literature by David Morgan (2007, 2014a, 2014b). Pragmatism as a research paradigm refuses to get involved in the contentious metaphysical concepts such as truth and reality. At the design stage of Project example 2, it was found that several small NGOs were developing complex, organization-wide performance measurement systems. By starting with organizational practices prioritized by case study NGOs (as evidenced by multiple documents from each NGO), the researcher could hone in on those organizational practices that were most likely to have relevance for the sector as a whole. The following section unpacks this notion by demonstrating how applying three principles of pragmatism enriched key decisions at every stage of the research process for each of our doctoral theses. Thus, in order to characterize the articles as one ... intentional mixture of both qualitative and quantitative approaches is used in a single research study. Declaration of conflicting interestsThe author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship and/or publication of this article. For James, the pragmatic maxim was a window into the way people think, formulate ideas, experiment and construct new habits (Ormerod, 2006). For Project example 1, this involved seeking out the perspectives of the primary intended users of evaluation. Instead, it provides a framework to help researchers choose which methods will be most appropriate. The sub-sections below apply the principles of pragmatism to decisions at each research stage in a general way, while drawing strongly on the experiences of our research projects to augment this discussion. If you have the appropriate software installed, you can download article citation data to the citation manager of your choice. Pragmatism focuses on what can be achieved or what works rather than on the positivists principal of absolute truth or reality. Telling digital stories as feminist research and practice: A 2-day workshop with migrant women ... View or download all content the institution has subscribed to. The pragmatic paradigm is useful for guiding research design, especially when a combination of different approaches is philosophically inconsistent. Until the birth of the pragmatic paradigm it was believed that qualitative research cannot be combined with quantitative approach. A pragmatist view was vital in ensuring the validity of our conclusions and in delivering on practical research outputs for the case study organizations who took part in our research projects. Simultaneously, this approach highlighted the multiple interpretations of organizational realities experienced by practitioners within these NGOs. In view of the findings, and in consideration of the unique limitations associated with the social study of children, pragmatism is suggested as an appropriate social research paradigm. The pragmatists claim that the knowledge gained through a mixed-method approach can be if not completely partially applied to other circumstances. The dissemination strategy for this project involves the preparation of practice briefs and speaking engagements with NGO decision-makers. Pragmatism in organization studies: Meeting the challenges of a dynamic and complex world, Doing mixed methods research pragmatically: Implications for the rediscovery of pragmatism as a research paradigm, On acting and knowing: How pragmatism can advance international relations research and methodology, Mixed methods research: The ‘thing-ness’ problem, Pragmatism and heterodoxy in organization research: Going beyond the quantitative/qualitative divide, Australasian evaluation society conference, Ethical evaluative consultations with children in small to mid-sized Australian NGOs, Examining the disconnect between community development and evaluation, World community development conference, IACD, Children’s opinions of retrospective pre-post ‘thentests’, Disconnects between evaluation and development in small-scale NGO settings: Making space for African-driven evaluation, African Evaluation Society (AfrEA) Conference, Unpacking disconnects between program evaluation and development values, Development studies association of Australia conference, Children as capable evaluators: Evolving conceptualizations of childhood in NGO practice settings, Context, lived experience, and qualitative research, Research methods for non-representational approaches to organizational complexity: The dialogical mediated inquiry, Alternative paradigms and the study and practice of performance management and evaluation, Paradigms lost and pragmatism regained: Methodological implications of combining qualitative and quantitative methods, Pragmatism as a paradigm for social research, On becoming a pragmatic researcher: The importance of combining quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, Major issues and controversies in the use of mixed methods in the social and behavioural sciences, Essai: Real-time reflexivity: Prods to reflection, SAGE Publications Ltd, and Ross Coomber, Gayle Letherby & John Scott unless otherwise noted. 2 research: quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods. Mazuru Grace: an informative document. The process of qualitative research is inductive in that the researcher builds abstractions, concepts, hypotheses, and theories from details. Required fields are marked *, Please Answer * In Dewey’s view, this dialectic interpretation process, if examined thoughtfully and systematically, could uncover social realities in clearer fashion than philosophical approaches that assumed human behaviour and action existed apart from understanding. Pragmatism as a philosophical movement originated in the 1870s by Charles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914). Maya Cordeiro has over 20 years of experience in community-based research and development; and as a monitoring and evaluation advisor to aid agencies and international NGOs. Qualitative research has been widely accepted in all disciplines for academic as well as non-academic reasons. A mixed-method approach means that such research will use both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Keywords: pragmatism, mixed research, the reality cycle, the double-faced knowledge, the necessary bias principle 1. This was due to the, often subtle, informal and everyday evaluative practices that were taking place without due recognition (Kelly, 2019c). Besides critical research and sometimes positivism, qualitative research in information systems can be performed following a paradigm of pragmatism. Pragmatism has provided an effective alternative to previously qualitative-only research. qualitative social research are nearly impossible. In recent years it has been observed that pragmatic paradigm is the most suitable paradigm to be used in social science research. Morgan, David. have added a pragmatic paradigm. The pragmatist seeks knowledge according to the circumstances in which the phenomenon occur. This mixed m… Pragmatism guides the project examples used in this article. Qualitative research paradigm was dominated by the constructivist approach to solve the problems. Pragmatism as a paradigm for social research. According to Dewey (2008 [1910]), all conscious human actions involve some amount of inquiry or assessment in response to a problem or obstacle. ‘Knowing’ in this sense, has the potential to transform practice (Biesta, 2010). By identifying common themes and commonly used performance measurement and programme evaluation in case study NGOs, and then later collecting data on the enactment of associated organizational practices, the researchers were able to develop a comprehensive picture of these study phenomena and assess the emergent theory in terms of the success of its practical application. In addition, part of both projects’ objectives is to broadcast the work of smaller NGOs to the development sector. Hence, ambiguities in the data such as contradictions between management and operational staff, or between the formal documentation and informal organizational practices, were easier to approach. ORCID iDLeanne M Kelly https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3360-5212. Leanne M Kelly has over 15 years of experience as a practitioner, researcher and evaluator in social services and community development non-government organizations (NGOs). At the data collection stage, pragmatism offers several possibilities for determining a researcher’s stance towards respondents. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in sociology and development studies. The last 100 years have witnessed a fervent debate in the USA about quantitative and qualitative research paradigms. For more information view the SAGE Journals Article Sharing page. According to pragmatism there cannot be one way to solve a problem but a mix of approach can better help solve a problem and find the truth. a research paradigm, pragmatism is based on the proposition that researchers should use the philosophical and/or methodological approach that works best for the particular research problem that is being investigated (Tashakkori and Teddlie1998). The principle of actionable knowledge anchored the research in the experiences of respondents. For instance, the way that programme managers in the example projects choose which evaluative tools and methods to use may be shaped by normative beliefs surrounding the nature of evidence. The pragmatism paradigm follows both positivism and interpretivism to seek the answers to the problems. There are four paradigms of pragmatic research (postpositivism, constructivist, participatory and pragmatism) that provide special and different prospective on the practice of this research. Your email address will not be published. In social science research, Pragmatic Paradigm was proposed as a philosophical basis for Mixed Methods Research (MMR) (Morgan, 2007; Mertens, 2010; Creswell, 2014), supporting a third option to qualitative and quantitative methods dichotomy. Qualitative research is descriptive in that the researcher is interested in process, meaning, ... Naturalist Paradigm (Qualitative) The nature of reality: Reality is single, tangible, and fragmentable. 6,734 Views. L. 2014b. It is this world view within which researchers work. Although pragmatist researchers are sometimes criticized for over emphasizing the practical, in fact, pragmatism enables researchers to overcome the dichotomy between theory and action and give voice to those impacted by organizational process (McKenna et al., 2011). For us, using pragmatism to underpin our research has strengthened its ability to capture elements of practice that are important to NGOs and their staff, turning practice-based evidence into theory. Understanding the interconnectedness of experience, knowing and acting guided our research design. Qualitative research is often associated with interpretivism, but alternatives do exist. This paradigm is associated with action, intervention and constructive knowledge. Historically, pragmatism developed in the late 19th and early 20th century as a philosophical movement that focused on the practical consequences of social reality. In recent years pragmatism has been worked by several researchers in North America, South America, and in Central Europe. This paradigm is totally opposite to positivist paradigm and constructivism. Qualitative research has its own uniqueness and dynamism in philosophy, paradigm, ontology, epistemology and methodology. The benefit of pragmatism is that it creates room for the exploration of how individual experience, knowing and acting are shaped through social interaction. Centre for Health and Wellbeing Research, Northampton University. Furthermore, grounding these principles in an epistemological stance that recognizes the deep interconnections between experience, knowing and acting can help combat the perceived limitations of overly ‘practical’ inquiry. Some society journals require you to create a personal profile, then activate your society account, You are adding the following journals to your email alerts, Did you struggle to get access to this article? The email address and/or password entered does not match our records, please check and try again. “Paradigm lost and pragmatism regained”. A pragmatist approach, with its epistemological focus on the inquiry process and practicality, was found to be more useful than research philosophies that lay a sole emphasis on abstraction or philosophical theory-generation. Classical pragmatists were concerned with knowledge and forms of knowing that had practical consequences. Qualitative Inquiry 20: 1045–53. In Project example 2, a survey provided additional data to validate initial interviews with managers and better scope the challenges experienced by project implementers. December 19, 2019. As discussed below, pragmatism contributes to a dynamic paradigm that corresponds with the complex and fluctuating context in which organizations operate. A central tenet in pragmatic inquiry is the view that all research should emanate from a desire to produce useful and actionable knowledge, solve existential problems or re-determine indeterminate situations, drawn from examination of effective habits or ways of acting (Corbin and Strauss, 2008; Feilzer, 2010). We suggest that pragmatism is a particularly worthy paradigm to guide research that seeks to provide a public good by improving practice and policy while remaining true to the quality-driven rigours of academic research. The final methodological principle distilled from the literature on pragmatism is informed by the Deweyan principle of inquiry, which links beliefs and action through a process of decision-making (Morgan, 2014b). In regard to research on organizations, an iterative focus on actionable knowledge maintains the connectivity of the inquiry process to evolving organizational practice and emergent problems. Pragmatism as a Paradigm for Mixed Methods Research ... important in health and social care research and this book is a useful overview of the synthesis of quantitative and qualitative elements, both for research design and in arriving at conclusions from the data. With Dewey (2008 [1922]), pragmatism advanced beyond the individual, psychological realm towards an emphasis on individual as well as shared human experience. As noted by Lincoln (2005), ‘the impact of efforts to improve organizations is always a task left unfinished, because it cannot account for many things unseen’ (p. 222). Thus, adopting an authentic and coherent pragmatist stance requires careful study and understanding of the underlying principles of this approach. Pragmatism’s focus on the production of actionable knowledge is of particular benefit to research with non-government organizations, ensuring that research is contextually relevant as well as informed by theory. The sub-headings are set out in a linear fashion, despite the research processes being iterative and more complex than this reductive layout would suggest. However, because these systems were in their infancy, descriptions of these systems or reflection on what was working and what was not had not been formally documented. Pragmatism is an American philosophy, dating from the 19th … This paradigm is associated with action, intervention and constructive knowledge. Moreover, as detailed further below, the research agenda shifts from merely focusing on ‘what works’ to mapping the consequences, experiences or meanings of social action for different individuals in an organization. Realism, constructionism and pragmatism paradigms have been applied widely for qualitative research. Kelly, 2017, 2019a; Kelly and Smith, 2017; Rogers et al., 2019). 12, No. The article focuses on three core methodological principles that underlie a pragmatic approach to inquiry: (1) an emphasis on actionable knowledge, (2) recognition of the interconnectedness between experience, knowing and acting and (3) inquiry as an experiential process. Pragmatism’s inherent focus on experience and action helped refine the research problems under investigation. This meant that the order, dose and duration of data collection among the different case study NGOs could adapt according to NGO requirements without disadvantaging the study’s trustworthiness. This is done to make BAR researchers aware of some of the recent writings about pragmatism in the mixed methods research literature (e.g. Pragmatism is an emerging research paradigm where practical consequences and the effects of concepts and behaviors are vital components of meaning and truth. This chapter provides an overview of pragmatism as a paradigm for research in the social sciences. Pragmatism and the philosophical foundations of mixed methods research, Research paradigms and why pragmatism worked for us, Moments, mixed methods, and paradigm dialogs. citly stated the paradigm used (pragmatism). If you have access to a journal via a society or association membership, please browse to your society journal, select an article to view, and follow the instructions in this box. This section discusses how these were enacted in our research. These principles are (1) an emphasis on actionable knowledge, (2) recognition of the interconnectedness between experience, knowing and acting and (3) a view of inquiry as an experiential process. The most recent research paradigm put forward by many theorists and practitioners in order to overcome the paradigmatic schism is ‘pragmatism’. ‘We were there too’: There is much to learn from embedding auto/biography in the ... Practising reflexivity: Ethics, methodology and theory construction. Though it also means that there should have to have a properly integrated methodology to reach to the right answers of the research questions. Through pragmatism, we could be flexible and adaptive throughout the research process as iterative inquiry, experience, knowing and acting informed ways to improve the research projects’ usefulness and value. . Understanding this interconnectedness was enriched in Project example 1 through the cultivation of ongoing relationships with respondents. This can be achieved through triangulation of what respondents say and what can be observed. At this stage, pragmatism enabled the researchers to manage dynamic and iterative analytical processes. Sign in here to access free tools such as favourites and alerts, or to access personal subscriptions, If you have access to journal content via a university, library or employer, sign in here, Research off-campus without worrying about access issues. This led to improved generalizability of the social science research. Please check you selected the correct society from the list and entered the user name and password you use to log in to your society website. The pragmatic paradigm refers to a worldview that focuses on “what works” rather than what might be considered absolutely and objectively “true” or “real.”. Both researchers have spent many years working in social programmes and have built extensive networks. pragmatism as a paradigm for social research Uncategorized December 5, 2020 0 Comment Qualitative research is descriptive in that the researcher is interested in process, meaning, and understanding gained through words or pictures. By building in scope to explore the diverse experiences of different individuals at the level of the research questions, we were able to identify more facets of the research problem than if these were solely framed around the theoretical literature, formal NGO documentation or our existing understanding of NGO processes. They also shed light on the value of pragmatist inquiry in unpacking the tensions involved in NGO programme evaluation. This video explains the basic relationship between research paradigm, ontology, and epistemology in academic research settings. For Project example 1, the analysis plan focused on the principle of actionable knowledge by analysing NGOs’ organizational values against widely accepted programme evaluation standards to highlight practices respondents found useful, purposeful and meaningful, as well as identifying practices that could be strengthened. Stage of Project example 1, many respondents highlighted that they had never the! 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