How open do you feel you are to different theoretical models that are used for instructional design of learning activities?
For example, you may be confronted with being asked to conduct a study that requires a theoretical model that you are not comfortable with; would you be able to do so? Perhaps you are a hardcore social constructivist and you have been asked to conduct a qualitative study of the implementation of a learning system that is primarily from the Positivist information processing paradigm.
If you are comfortable doing it, how would you approach reconciling your worldview (epistemology) with incompatible available methods to conduct the research? If not, how would you explain why you are unable?
The selection of the different theoretical model would sometimes depend on the type of research study being conducted. So a researcher would likely gravitate to a model they relate to or feel more comfortable using. There are four primary models that were discussed in class: post-positivism, constructivist, pragmatism and advocacy. After reading through these various theoretical models, I feel most comfortable with is the constructivist model. If I had to use another theory, I would need to study it carefully so that the focus of the research fits the model’s process.
In a research project where the primary focus is on a constructivist model, the researcher would be focused on those “individuals that seek understanding of the world in which they live, work and develop subjective meanings of their experiences” (Creswell, 2014, p. 8). Using qualitative research methods, the researcher will develop capabilities to interview the participants in a study to understand an individual’s viewpoint of the study’s focus. The researcher focuses on (Creswell, 2014, p. 8): processes of interaction among individuals; specific contexts in which people live and work in order to understand the historical and cultural settings of the participants; he researcher recognize their own backgrounds shape their interpretations from their own personal, cultural, and historical experiences; and how the researchers generate or inductively develop a theory or pattern of meaning.
The postpositivist model of research focus on the “need to identify and assess the cause that influences outcomes found in experiments” (Creswell, 2014, p. 7). Typically, this research utilizes quantitative analysis derived from survey questionnaires. In order to switch from a constructivist focus to a postpositivist viewpoint, the researcher takes a position that “absolute truth can never be found and they state that they do not prove a hypothesis; instead, they indicate a failure to reject the hypothesis” (Creswell, 2014, p. 7). The approach utilized by the postpositivist researcher is that they “begin with a theory, collect the data that supports or refutes the theory, and then makes necessary revisions and conducts additional tests” (Creswell, 2014, p. 7).
With respect to the postpositivist researcher’s approach to their study they are to “remain detached from the participants of the research by creating a distance, which is important in remaining emotionally neutral to make clear distinctions between reason and feeling (Edirisingha, 2012, p. 1). Since objectivity and logical approaches are critical to the research the use of statistical analysis of quantitative research is the typical study outcomes. Remaining neutral and detached from the study at hand allows the positivist researcher to make distinctions between the facts and value determinations (Edirisngha, 2012). So the collection of data from the participants allows the researcher to ascertain relevant analytical results that serve to support or explain the causal relationship of the hypothesis or research questions.
Creswell, J., (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.
Edirisingha, P., (2012). Interpretivism and positivism (ontological and epistemological perspectives). Retrieved from: https://prabash78.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/interpretivism-and-postivism-ontological-and-epistemological-perspectives/