By Alan Bryman
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Extra resources for Quantity and Quality in Social Research (Contemporary Social Research)
Nor do realism and positivism exhaust the full range of philosophies of science (Harré, 1972; Keat and Urry, 1975). 3 It is precisely for this reason that I have not dwelt too long on the philosophy of science issues. What is critical to the characteriza- THE NATURE OF QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH 43 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 tion of the nature of quantitative research is its clear espousal of a ‘scientific’ approach which bears many of the hallmarks of positivism. Further, as will be apparent from the discussion in later chapters, quantitative research has been criticized from the vantage point of qualitative research generally because of its scientific pretensions and the effects of such an orientation on the comprehension of social reality.
G. by reference to analogues which facilitate an understanding and explanation. This view of causality departs quite markedly from that which pervades quantitative research in which the succession of cause and effect is so paramount. While it is not the purpose of this chapter to enter into the debates about what scientists really do, as against what quantitative researchers qua positivists say they do, it is apparent that the approach to causality described in this section (the regularity view) is not necessarily an accurate account of the natural scientist’s understanding.
The focus of attention on generalizability can be viewed as indicative of a diffuse proclivity for the generation of law-like findings à la natural sciences; while the issue of replicability can also be viewed as a more general commitment to the ways of the natural scientist, as well as indicative of the positivist unease about values and their possible intrusion in research. 12 The question of the emphasis on causality is more complex, in that the establishment of causal statements is not a feature of positivism as such, but a component of most accounts of the natural sciences.
Quantity and Quality in Social Research (Contemporary Social Research) by Alan Bryman