There are two main philosophical traditions when it comes to research methodologies: positivism and constructivism. Positivism holds that the world is ‘out there’ waiting for us to discover it, whilst Constructivism holds that ‘facts’ are socially and psychologically constructed labels and descriptions we place upon the world as we experience it. All research methods – apart from perhaps Pragmatism – fall into one of these two camps.
The Wikipedia article on Methodology sums things up quite nicely:
Methodology refers to more than a simple set of methods; rather it refers to the rationale and the philosophical assumptions that underlie a particular study. This is why scholarly literature often includes a section on the methodology of the researchers. This section does more than outline the researchers’ methods (as in, “We conducted a survey of 50 people over a two-week period and subjected the results to statistical analysis”, etc.); it might explain what the researchers’ ontological or epistemological views are.
The following OpenCourseWare resources (found via the very useful oercommons.org website) should help me – especially these in particular:
- MIT (15.347) – Doctoral Seminar in Research Methods I
- MIT (15.348) – Doctoral Seminar in Research Methods II
Some books I shall be looking for to help me with my thesis proposal:?
- Allison, B., et al. (1996) Research Skills for Students (001.44 RES – Education Library)
- Cohen, L., et al. (2000) Research Methods in Education (370.72 COH – Education Library)
- Creswell, J. (2007) Qualitative Inquiry and research design: choosing among five traditions (300.723 CRE – Education Library)
- Patton, M.Q. (2002) Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods (300.723 PAT – Man Library)
- Phillips, E. (2005) How to get a PhD: a guide for students and their supervisors (378.240941 PHI – Education Library)
- Wisker, G. (2001) The Postgraduate Research Handbook: succeed with your MA, MPhil, EdD and PhD (001.42 WIS – Main Library)
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