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A summary of the paper presented to the 18th International Human Science

Research Conference, Sheffield, UK, July 26 - 29, 1999.


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xave Hiles
(Psychology, De Montfort University, Leicester. LE7 9SU. UK.)
(Email: drhiles@dmu.ac.uk )c

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 cÑhe widely held distinction between quantitative and qualitative research is over-
simplistic and quite misguided. It is important to note that what defines human science is not its
methodology but its paradigms, and in a discipline such as psychology there is a real danger of losing
sight of one¶s paradigms. Guba & Lincoln (1994) define the term paradigm as "a set of basic beliefs
that deals with ultimates or first principles [ . . that] are not open to proof in any conventional sense."
All scientific research, indeed all human knowledge, follows a set of procedures that must begin with a
group of assumptions, a set of beliefs, a paradigm. However, once a paradigm for research has been
c chosen, it is by no means settled what strategies and types of data collection and analysis are to be
employed. All too often, research studies are criticized for their methodology without any
consideration of the paradigm within which they fall. Students too are being taught qualitative
methods, when really they are being taught only qualitative data analysis. In order to highlight and
also resolve this confusion, a framework is proposed that makes a clear distinction between paradigm,
strategy, methodology and (data) analysis, for all social, behavioural and human science research.c

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