Positivists: The ontological position of positivists is that of realism

Positivists paradigm  
The ontological position of positivists is that of realism. Positivists strive to understand the social world like the natural world. In nature there is a cause-effect relationship between phenomena, and once established, they can be predicted with certainty in the future. For positivists, the same applies to the social world.ontology
The positivist epistemology is one of objectivism. Positivists go forth into the world impartially, discovering absolute knowledge about an objective reality. Researchers come in as objective observers to study phenomena that exist independently of them and they do not affect or disturb what is being observed. They will use language and symbols to describe phenomena in their real form, as they exist, without any interference whatsoever.epistemology
Positivist methodology is directed at explaining relationships. Positivists attempt to identify causes which influence outcomes. Their aim is to formulate laws, thus yielding a basis for prediction and generalization. A deductive approach is undertaken. Correlation and experimentation are used to reduce complex interactions their constituent parts. Verifiable evidence sought via direct experience and observation; this often involves empirical testing, random samples, controlled variables (independent, dependent and moderator) and control groups. True-experiments are preferred over quasi-experiments. identifies that an approach which is characterized by procedure and methods which are designed to discover general laws is nomothetic. Positivists view their methodology as value neutral, thus the knowledge generated is value neutral.methodology
The scientific paradigm seeks predictions and generalizations; thus, methods often generate quantitative data. Examples include: standardized tests, closed ended questionnaires and descriptions of phenomena using standardized observation tools). Analysis involves descriptive and inferential statistics. Inferential statistics allow sample results to be generalized to populations.methods
The ontological position of interpretivism is relativism. Relativism is the view that reality is subjective and differs from person to person. interpretivists believe in socially constructed multiple realities. Truth and reality are created, not discovered. It is not possible to know reality as it is because it is always mediated by our senses.  ontology
Interpretive epistemology is subjective. External reality cannot be directly accessible to observers without being contaminated by their worldviews, concepts, backgrounds etc.  According to Grix (2004), “researchers are inextricably part of the social reality being researched, i.e. they are not ‘detached’ from the subject they are studying” (p.83).  epistemology
Interpretive methodology is directed at understanding phenomenon from an individual’s perspective, investigating interaction among individuals as well as the historical and cultural contexts which people inhabit. Examples of methodology include case studies (in-depth study of events or processes over a prolonged period), phenomenology (the study of direct experience without allowing the interference of existing preconceptions), hermeneutics (deriving hidden meaning from language), and ethnography (the study of cultural groups over a prolonged period).methodology
Interpretive researchers employ methods that generate qualitative data, and although numerical data could be involved, they are not relied upon. Examples of data collection methods that yield qualitative data include: open ended interviews with varying degrees of structure (standardized open-ended interviews, semi-standardized open ended interviews, and informal conversational interview), observations, filed notes, personal notes, documents etc.methods
critical paradigm  
The ontological position of the critical paradigm is historical realism. Historical realism is the view that reality has been shaped by social, political, cultural, economic, ethnic, and gender values. Realities are socially constructed entities that are under constant internal influence  ontology
. Epistemologically, critical theory is subjective in that it is assumed that no object can be researched without being affected by the researcher. Critical educational researchers try to be self-conscious of their own epistemological presuppositions and communicate them clearly when entering into an investigation.epistemology
critical methodologies include: critical discourse analysis (examines how social and political domination is realized in text and talk), critical ethnography (an ideologically sensitive orientation to the study of culture, action research (a cyclical process of investigation, action and evaluation which results in a change in practice), and ideology critique (exposes hidden ideology by revealing participants’ places in systems that empower or disempower them.)methodology
Critical methods enable realities to be critically examined from a cultural, historical and political stance. Examples include: open-ended interviews, focus groups, open-ended questionnaires, and open-ended observations. These methods usually generate qualitative data. Similar to interpretivism, analysis often involves thematic interpretation of data.methods

Are there any similarities between paradigm?

-Interpretive and critical methods usually generate qualitative data, whereas the scientific paradigm seeks predictions and generalizations; thus, methods often generate quantitative data.

How do researchers within these approaches/paradigms justify the “good” quality of their research?

-It is evident that the selection of the right research paradigm is necessary to take the research in the right direction.

 it should be clear to the researcher that paradigms as positions about epistemology and ontology exert significant influences on the methodology to be used in a research project . Because each paradigm is undergirded by specific assumptions choice of a paradigm for research implies that the research will be nested in a particular epistemology, ontology and that these elements will therefore guide him towards a particular methodology.

thus, the choice of a paradigm implies a near certainty about methodologies that flow from that paradigm. This relationship is very important because the methodological implications of paradigm choice permeate, the research questions, participants’ selection, data collection instruments and collection procedures, as well as data analysis. So, the researcher needs to know in what paradigm the research can fit well, the researcher should be able to justify the selection.

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