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Daniel Wentzel
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My thoughts on research paradigms

Published on 4/14/2014
For additional information  Click Here

From the opening statement on this topic: “Your thoughts on research paradigms”, Jan stated: “I personally think that the process of research takes us from the place of “not knowing” to “knowing something” and the primary issue for research is summed up in the question: “what do you want to know?”” Also, when attempting to answer the questions about “what is research?” and “why do research?”, we need to keep in mind that research is essentially an intellectual engagement for the purpose of creating new knowledge, for example: Cicmil (2006) states that qualitative research is an intellectual engagement that can be used in the discipline of project management to create knowledge through research. Marnewick & Labuschagne (2009) ask this question, “the key question to researchers is: how do we go about generating knowledge that is both valid and vital to the wellbeing of individuals and communities as well as for the promotion of larger-scale democratic social change?” Intellectual engagement for the purpose of creating new knowledge or “knowing something” new therefore becomes “both valid and vital” to the progress and "wellbeing of individuals and communities as well as for the promotion of larger-scale democratic social change”.

The next important question for the researcher should be the following: what method should be chosen to answer the research question(s) surrounding the identified problem? Take for example, in the field of project management, Marnewick & Labuschagne (2009), on understanding the problem of IT project failures in the South African context: “Understanding the problem has been well researched and documented using quantitative methods, but finding a pragmatic solution requires a more holistic research approach. This implies that a variety of research approaches and alternatives are available. The use of a single research approach (in other words, quantitative) is no longer appropriate. According to Aguinis, Pierce, Bosco and Muslin (2009), 90% of published research in project management in the last ten years was quantitative in nature, with only 10% being classified as qualitative. Qualitative research methods are therefore still undervalued.” For a more detailed overview of the method used, refer to Marnewick & Labuschagne (2009). What is of importance is, making sure that the correct research method or methods are chosen when attempting to create the new knowledge required to move forward. If you are going to bang in a nail, make sure that you have the right hammer.

To answer the question on "what are mixed methods research or MMR?": I re-iterate from a previous post:

Denzin and Lincoln (2000) stated: This mixed method research design helps the researcher to go for inductive and deductive reasoning techniques in order to more accurately answer the study’s research questions that cannot be completely answered through qualitative or quantitative research alone.

Rocco et al. (2003) suggested the advantages of mixed methodology in which the authors justified the legitimacy of qualitative methods is enhanced through the incorporation of quantitative methods, known as triangulation.

Bryman (2011) defined “triangulation as the use of more than one approach to the investigation of a research question in order to enhance confidence in the ensuing findings”

The only constant with paradigms is that they are vulnerable to change hence the term "paradigm shift". One can say that paradigms are susceptible to evolution. Are they a platform or are they the tool cabinet? It was Joel A. Barker who said: “Usually the first problems you solve with the new paradigm are the ones that were unsolvable with the old paradigm.”


Aguinis, H., Pierce, C.A., Bosco, F.A. & Muslin, I.S. 2009. ‘First decade of organisational research methods: Trends in design, measurement and data-analysis topics’, Organizational Research Methods, 12: 69–112.

Bryman, Alan. "Triangulation." Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods. 2003. SAGE Publications. 8 Nov. 2011.

Cicmil, S. 2006. ‘Understanding project management practice through interpretative and critical research perspectives’, Project Management Journal, 37(2): 27–37.

Denzin, N.K. and Lincoln, Y.S. (2000) `Introduction: The discipline and practice of qualitative research' in Denzin, N.K. and Lincoln, Y.S. (eds) Handbook of Qualitative Research, 2nd edn, London: Sage Publications.

Marnewick, C. & Labuschagne, L., 2009 Deriving projects from the organizational vision using the Vision-to-Projects (V2P) Framework, Southern African Business Review, 13(3), 119-146.

Rocco, T. S., Bliss, L. A., Gallagher, S., Pérez-Prado, A., Alacaci, C., Dwyer, E. S., et al. (2003). The pragmatic and dialectical lenses: Two views of mixed methods use in education. In A. Tashakkori & C. Teddlie (Eds.). The handbook of mixed methods in the social and behavioral sciences (pp. 595-615). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Quote by Joel A. Barker can be found at:

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