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5/25/2010

Focus

Positivism
Dr. Vicente C. Handa

• Unambiguous and accurate knowledge of the world (Crotty, 2003 p. 18) • Explanation/prediction and control • Finding Truth (and proving it through empirical means) • Goal of value-neutral science (Crotty, 2003, p. 27)

Assumptions
• The basis of “positive science” (ie, that which is posited) lie in “direct experience” of “what is observed” via “scientific method” (Crotty, 1998, p. 20) • Investigator and investigated object are assumed to be independent entities. • Scientists will keep the distinction between objective empirically verifiable knowledge and subjective,unverifiable knowledge very much in mind (Crotty, 1998, p. 27).

Assumptions (cont.)
• Knowledge is factual (Crotty, 1998, p. 25) • Objectivist epistemology -- Truth and meaning reside in objects (Crotty, 1998, p. 42) • No statement is meaningful unless it is capable of being verified • Scientific knowledge is both accurate & certain (as opposed to opinions and feelings) • Replicable findings are ‘true’

Assumptions (cont.)
• Reality is value-neutral, ahistorical, and cross cultural (Crotty, 1998, p. 40) • Scientific knowledge is objective, rather than subjective (Crotty, 1998, p. 27) • “Real” properties can be measured, counted & quantified (Crotty, 1998, p. 28) • Importance of objectivity, validity, and generalizability attributed to findings (Crotty, 1998, p. 41)

Major concepts/terms used
• Closely linked to empirical science (Crotty, 1998, p. 27) • Logical empiricism • Objectivist • Mathematised world (Crotty, 1998, p. 27)

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25) Contributing scholars • Auguste Comte (1798-1857) – seen as “founder” of positivism (Crotty. 1998 p.5/25/2010 Major concepts • Primarily interested in synthetic statements “propositions in which what is predicated of the subject is not included in its definition” (Crotty. 1998. p. experiment. 1998. 21) • Francis Bacon (1561-1626) – observation & experiment to establish scientific laws (Crotty. 1998. 1998. 23) • Vienna Circle (1920s-30s) applied mathematical principles to philosophy (Crotty. (1998). p. p. p. 23) – Believed that “universality of method can unify the practice of science (Crotty. p. Thousand Oaks. 1998. p. The foundations of social research: Meaning and perspective in the research process. 24) • Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) – logical analysis of propositions (Crotty. p. 25) • Synthetic statements can be verified by experience (sense-data) (Crotty. 25) • Verification principle: no statement is meaningful unless it is capable of being verified (Crotty. 1998. 24) • Henri de Saint-Simon (1817-1824) – concerned with “reconstruction of society” (Crotty. 22) • Measurement and scaling • Statistical analysis • Form a hypothesis (stated in propositional form) and prove it quantitatively – through sampling. 21) – natural scientific methods applied to social sciences (Crotty. Critique • Positivists are claimed to make excessive assumptions and claims to the validity and accuracy of scientific knowledge • How can we say what is true with any certitude? • Doesn’t take into account how people make meaning/culturally influenced interpretations Research questions • Is there a positive link between years of service and pay scale? Reference: Crotty. 1998. measuring etc. 2 . 1998. 1998. p. 24) Methodologies specific to framework • • • • • Experimental/manipulative research Survey research Chiefly quantitative methods “scientific method” Verification of hypotheses Methods • Observation. 1998. CA: Sage. comparison – Comte’s scientific method (Crotty. M. p. p.