Pragmatism as a paradigm for social research. International Business Research; Vol. This experiential process helps researchers with combining macro- and micro-level perspectives within an organization and encourages a more inclusive research process as different stakeholders are able to situate themselves and their actions within a larger context. This can be achieved through triangulation of what respondents say and what can be observed. In essence, this investigation is driven by a pragmatic desire to evaluate the pragmatist paradigm in relation to the success of its practical application as a framework for research. research: quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods. In Project example 1, data were collected using a focused ethnographic methodology which augmented interviews with participant observation. By encouraging organizational stakeholders to trace out the likely consequences of different lines of action, researchers are able to gain a more detailed understanding of the phenomena under investigation. We have used auto-narrative to unpack how pragmatism was enacted at each stage of the research to add clarity to the often-abstract discourse surrounding paradigms and epistemology. In pragmatic paradigm the researchers use both qualitative and quantitative methodology in a sequential manner. The pragmatic principles adopted encouraged her to be multi-disciplinary to provide NGOs with knowledge from other disciplines to augment their practice. tional qualitative and quantitative research, to present pragmatism as offering an attractive philosophical partner for mixed methods re-search, and to provide a framework for designing and conducting mixed methods research. According to pragmatism there cannot be one way to solve a problem but a mix of approach can better help solve a problem and find the truth. Following Dewey, pragmatism has contributed to movements such as symbolic interactionism, action research and grounded theory. In addition, part of both projects’ objectives is to broadcast the work of smaller NGOs to the development sector. The process of qualitative research is inductive in that the researcher builds abstractions, concepts, hypotheses, and theories from details. This ecological understanding of the interlinkages between inquiry, experience, knowing and acting addresses many of the weakness in existing organizational research. Pragmatism is an emerging research paradigm where practical consequences and the effects of concepts and behaviors are vital components of meaning and truth. Tags pragmatic paradigm pragmatism pragmatism in mixed method research, Subjectivism is a word that has many different meanings. In both research scenarios, the choice of methods was driven by initial scoping of the research question using the principles of pragmatism as a guide. Which research paradigm does my research belong to? Thus, adopting an authentic and coherent pragmatist stance requires careful study and understanding of the underlying principles of this approach. These pragmatists declared that truth could be judged by its consequences. Kuhn (1962/1996) is responsible for the use of paradigms as an approach for summarising researchers’ beliefs and practices that relate to how they create knowledge. The pragmatist principles provided guidance to investigate these ‘unseen’ processes and evaluate the success of their practical application. For the purpose of this article, this concise understanding of the projects will suffice to provide context. In fact, as noted above, the classical pragmatism movement originated to focus inquiry on issues of human significance rather than on metaphysical debates about the nature of truth and reality (Patton, 2005). For Project example 1, the analysis plan focused on the principle of actionable knowledge by analysing NGOs’ organizational values against widely accepted programme evaluation standards to highlight practices respondents found useful, purposeful and meaningful, as well as identifying practices that could be strengthened. This feature is particularly relevant to NGOs as, often, organizational processes are not properly documented and, to a large extent, rely on the knowledge and interpretations of implementing staff. This methodological principle enables researchers to engage with multiple experiences of the same phenomena and orient the inquiry towards problem solving through the reconstruction of habits and the continuation of vital and social experience. This paradigm is associated with action, intervention and constructive knowledge. This nuanced approach to pragmatism has been comprehensively defined and discussed in more recent literature by David Morgan (2007, 2014a, 2014b). In Project example 2, this included multi-year comparisons to ascertain changes in the way case study NGOs had positioned performance data on their websites and in their annual reports. The rise of pragmatic paradigm occurred side-by-side with the rise of the mixed-methods approach. These are staff who exhibit what Patton (2008) calls ‘the personal factor’, a trait recognizable in ‘people who personally care about . Advocates of the so-called pragmatic approach to research have over emphasized its practicability in combining diverse For instance, both projects found that many organizational practices had limited internal relevance although resources were being invested in these. By emphasizing this principle of actionable knowledge as a starting point for research, researchers can develop research agendas anchored in respondent experiences and, hence, ensure the research is of practical relevance. In addition, pragmatism guided our sampling strategies by helping us identify information rich respondents most likely to provide useful practice-based knowledge, as well as ensuring the sampling process uncovered a range of perspectives. Organizational strategies that were only considered useful in specific NGOs were analysed qualitatively and using case study–based analytical procedures. This led to improved generalizability of the social science research. The emergence and development of mixed-method methodology changed the way social science research has been conducted in the past. Realism, constructionism and pragmatism paradigms have been applied widely for qualitative research. Maya Cordeiro has over 20 years of experience in community-based research and development; and as a monitoring and evaluation advisor to aid agencies and international NGOs. Leanne M Kelly has over 15 years of experience as a practitioner, researcher and evaluator in social services and community development non-government organizations (NGOs). Most qualitative research emerges from the 'interpretivist' paradigm. Table 1. For more information view the SAGE Journals Article Sharing page. This paradigm is associated with action, intervention and constructive knowledge. This paper has picked out interpretivism and pragmatism as two possible … The methods we chose as a result of this principle enabled us to unpack complex problems and contexts. Pragmatists study the actions of the individuals in light of their actions. This article explicates pragmatism as a relevant and useful paradigm for qualitative research on organizational processes. The sub-headings are set out in a linear fashion, despite the research processes being iterative and more complex than this reductive layout would suggest. A diversity of methods offered a framework to map, triangulate and sequence the research problem against diverse NGO contexts. Pragmatism provided us with the roadmap to guide us there. 9; 2019 ISSN 1913-9004 E-ISSN 1913-9012 Published by Canadian Center of Science and Education 1 Pragmatism as a Supportive Paradigm for the Mixed Research Approach: Conceptualizing the Ontological, Epistemological, and Axiological Stances of Pragmatism Heba Maarouf1 In the next phase of development John Dewey (1859–1952) and his friend Jane Addams (1860–1935) developed social work in light of pragmatist ideas. Byrman and others, most recently Morgan (2007), argue for a more pragmatic approach; one that is disentrangled from the entrapments of this paradigm debate, one that recognizes the ties or themes that connect quantitative and qualitative research, and one that sees the benefits of blending quantitative and qualitative methods. Clarifying the three principles of pragmatism helped us target data collection and strengthen the depth and quality of analysis. qualitative methodology, including qualitative research paradigms (Ponterotto, 2005a), data collec­ ... have added a pragmatic paradigm. Rather than becoming mired in discussions regarding generalizability, pragmatism looks more practically at the applicability of the research to other contexts and settings (Morgan, 2007). A paradigm is a shared belief system that influences the types of knowledge researchers seek to obtain and how they interpret any research evidence they may collect (Morgan, 2007). In Dewey’s view, this dialectic interpretation process, if examined thoughtfully and systematically, could uncover social realities in clearer fashion than philosophical approaches that assumed human behaviour and action existed apart from understanding. Mixed method research is research in which the researcher uses the qualitative research paradigm for one phase of a research study and the quantitative research paradigm for another in order to understand a research problem more … By exploring the use of pragmatism for research on organizational processes, this article works towards ameliorating the lack of practical case studies regarding the application of epistemological frameworks in social research. By continuing to browse For instance, early in the data collection process in Project example 2, it became obvious that the link between performance measurement and the decision-making process had not been reflected upon by implementation staff. In both project examples, an important part of the analytical process involved the documentation of field-notes or emergent findings, which included new evidence collected through repeat interviews or updated documentation, as the case study NGOs enacted the practices that were under investigation. have added a pragmatic paradigm. Create a link to share a read only version of this article with your colleagues and friends. This paradigm is totally opposite to positivist paradigm and constructivism. The final methodological principle distilled from the literature on pragmatism is informed by the Deweyan principle of inquiry, which links beliefs and action through a process of decision-making (Morgan, 2014b). Morgan (2014a) explains this as, ‘In contrast to philosophies that emphasize the nature of reality, pragmatists emphasize the nature of experience’ (p. 27). Although early anthropological qualitative research may be said to have been guided by the val­ ues of positivism, qualitative research over time and discipline has largely dismissed positivism as a real­ istic possibility in the qualitative endeavor. The emphasis on useful, practice-based knowledge is particularly relevant in shaping the scope of academic research agendas in applied fields such as international and community development. Qualitative research paradigm was dominated by the constructivist approach to solve the problems. One of the researchers (Project example 2) drew strongly on concepts from other disciplines so she felt she could add value to NGOs by helping them cross a disciplinary border. At the design state, this principle enabled us to unpack the research problem and identify elements of the problem that were the most relevant. The pragmatic paradigm originated in the United States in the late 19th century. This paradigm is associated with action, intervention and constructive knowledge. These two doctoral projects offer complementary and practical examples of how pragmatism can be used to strengthen research processes. evaluation and the findings it generates’ (p. 66). For Peirce (2014), the meaning of any concept was inextricably linked with its experiential consequences when investigated. Although this article is organized linearly for structural simplicity, the authors recognize that research, particularly qualitative research, is an emergent and iterative process. Finally, the understanding of inquiry as an experiential process clarified our roles as researchers. 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By demonstrating the suitability of this approach for research on NGOs, this article contributes to the growing literature supporting pragmatism as a potential paradigm for organizational research (Elkjaer and Simpson, 2011; Farjoun et al., 2015; Lorino, 2018). While recognizing that our research is highly contextually bound, both projects have scope to share useful findings. Realities are multiple, constructed, and holistic. The pragmatic paradigm has great contribution in the field of social science research. Pragmatic inquiry recognizes that individuals within social settings (including organizations) can experience action and change differently, and this encourages them to be flexible in their investigative techniques (Onwuegbuzie and Leech, 2005). ‘Knowing’ in this sense, has the potential to transform practice (Biesta, 2010). The intention is to provide other researchers with a clear outline of pragmatism’s utility in research, including as a useful paradigm to navigate qualitative applied social research on NGO processes. Furthermore, grounding these principles in an epistemological stance that recognizes the deep interconnections between experience, knowing and acting can help combat the perceived limitations of overly ‘practical’ inquiry. In doing so, it also addresses the political concerns that link pragmatism and social justice. This is due to considerable diversity within and between organizations working in these fields, rendering esoteric theoretical models of limited value to practice (Friedrichs and Kratochwil, 2009). Paradigms of Research, Pragmatism With Dewey (2008 [1922]), pragmatism advanced beyond the individual, psychological realm towards an emphasis on individual as well as shared human experience. Both type of research cannot be solved using one paradigm. Thirdly is the mixed methods approach associated with the pragmatic paradigm and strategies that involve collecting data in a simultaneous or sequential manner using methods that are drawn from both quantitative and qualitative traditions in a fashion that best addresses the research … This paradigm is associated with action, intervention and constructive knowledge. In both projects, pragmatism helped with the development of an analysis plan by focusing examination of the data on the principle of actionable knowledge. Elements of the data collection stage where we found it valuable to use pragmatist ideas to guide research choices included the scope and sequence of data collection methods, the researchers’ stance and ethical considerations for data collection.  =  The article focuses on three core methodological principles that underlie a pragmatic approach to inquiry: (1) an emphasis on actionable knowledge, (2) recognition of the interconnectedness between experience, knowing and acting and (3) inquiry as an experiential process. As Project example 1 focuses on small NGOs, a different approach is being taken to share the findings directly with these organizations. I have read and accept the terms and conditions, View permissions information for this article. This principle was particularly valuable in guiding our sampling strategies; helping us identify information-rich respondents most likely to provide useful practice-based knowledge, as well as ensuring the sampling process uncovered a range of perspectives. This chapter provides an overview of pragmatism as a paradigm for research in the social sciences. These principles, when applied to research on organizational processes, such as performance measurement and evaluation, provide the rationale for pragmatism as a worthy and useful paradigm to guide research. He argued that, when applied to philosophical debates, the pragmatic maxim does not typically show that these lack content; but instead the maxim reveals hidden and substantial issues that are at stake. Pragmatism holds that the value and meaning of opinions and ‘facts’ captured in research data are assessed through examination of their practical consequences; this gives them a ‘warranted assertibility’ (Dewey, 1938). Similarly, the gurus of qualitative research, Denzin and Lincoln (2000), define paradigms as human constructions, which deal with first principles or ultimates indicating where the researcher is coming from so as to construct meaning embedded in data. At the design stage of Project example 2, it was found that several small NGOs were developing complex, organization-wide performance measurement systems. The following section examines how pragmatism can be incorporated throughout the research process in relation to these three principles using our doctoral research as worked examples. This paradigm is totally opposite to positivist paradigm and constructivism. Although advocates of mixed-methods research have proposed pragmatism as a paradigm for social research, nearly all of that work has emphasized the practical rather than the philosophical aspects of pragmatism. Sign in here to access free tools such as favourites and alerts, or to access personal subscriptions, If you have access to journal content via a university, library or employer, sign in here, Research off-campus without worrying about access issues. . Early pragmatists rejected the idea that social inquiry using a single scientific method could access truths regarding the real world. The Qualitative Paradigm . For James, the pragmatic maxim was a window into the way people think, formulate ideas, experiment and construct new habits (Ormerod, 2006). As noted previously, both projects involved respondents with differing levels of knowledge, experience and control over the process being studied. Pragmatism: A lived and living philosophy. In social science research, Pragmatic Paradigm was proposed as a philosophical basis for mixed methods research, supporting a third option to qualitative and quantitative methods dichotomy. Pragmatism’s focus on the production of actionable knowledge is of particular benefit to research with non-government organizations, ensuring that research is contextually relevant as well as informed by theory. The guiding pragmatist principles are also informing the researchers’ ongoing dissemination strategy and driving an enthusiasm for utilization of the study’s findings. Pragmatism focuses on what can be achieved or what works rather than on the positivists principal of absolute truth or reality. Qualitative research has its own uniqueness and dynamism in philosophy, paradigm, ontology, epistemology and methodology. Postposi­ Hence, ambiguities in the data such as contradictions between management and operational staff, or between the formal documentation and informal organizational practices, were easier to approach. Pragmatism as a research paradigm refuses to get involved in the contentious metaphysical concepts such as truth and reality. This focus on ‘socially shaped’ (Morgan, 2014b: 1047) behaviour enables a more holistic view of organizational processes as well as determining how researchers engage with different groups of respondents. Her PhD research on programme evaluation in small NGOs provides one of the project examples for this article. The article focuses on three core methodological principles that underlie a pragmatic approach to inquiry: (1) an emphasis on actionable knowledge, (2) recognition of the interconnectedness between experience, knowing and acting and (3) inquiry as an experiential process. The design of a research study begins with the selection of a topic and a paradigm. Instead, it provides a framework to help researchers choose which methods will be most appropriate. pragmatism that do not engage in social action or research. In Project example 1, pragmatism effected sequencing by allowing a level of flexibility unusual in many other frameworks. Our research projects were driven by intentions to make valuable contributions to NGOs. have benefited from the easy to understand presentation... cabinet medical boisseau: Great article.... Legg, Catherine and Hookway, Christopher, ” Pragmatism”. pragmatism as a paradigm for social research Uncategorized December 5, 2020 0 Comment …..Merriam, S. … By identifying common themes and commonly used performance measurement and programme evaluation in case study NGOs, and then later collecting data on the enactment of associated organizational practices, the researchers were able to develop a comprehensive picture of these study phenomena and assess the emergent theory in terms of the success of its practical application. For us, using pragmatism to underpin our research has strengthened its ability to capture elements of practice that are important to NGOs and their staff, turning practice-based evidence into theory. The pragmatist seeks knowledge according to the circumstances in which the phenomenon occur. This data analysis plan, based on useful knowledge as determined by respondents, enabled the researcher to balance the macro- and micro-level investigation required to answer key research questions around NGO performance measurement. Yet, the pragmatic paradigm implies that the overall approach to research is that of mixing data collection methods and data analysis procedures within the research process (Creswell, 2003). Moreover, in both the projects, repeated emphasis on the principle of actionable knowledge uncovered, sometimes subconscious, influences of which the researcher and respondents were unaware at the start of the research. Her current PhD research on performance measurement and decision-making in NGOs is the other project example used in this article. qualitative social research are nearly impossible. 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