This concept of polar opposites is further encourage

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This concept of polar opposites is further encourage by Saunders, Lewis et al (2003, p82) who refer to the research process as an ‘onion’. Within this ‘onion’ the second layer refers to the subject of your research approach that flows from your research philosophy. Therefore linking the philosophy of positivism with different approaches, in this case deduction and similarly interpretivism with induction. Therefore whether one’s research should use a deductive approach, in which you develop a theory and hypothesis (or hypotheses) and design a research strategy to test the hypothesis; or the inductive approach, in which you would collect data and develop theory as a result of your data analysis is paramount. Again this gives the student a seemingly either or dilemma. It infers to the student or the
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Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods Volume 2 Issue 2 2004 (119-128) 123 researcher that the research approach of induction or deduction are in fact mutually exclusive; in the same way that positivism and interpretivism are placed at polar opposites (Saunders, Lewis et al. 2003, p85). Th e R es ea rch P roce ss O n io n P o sitivism Sa m pling , S e co nd ary d ata O bs e rva tio n Interview s Q ue stio nn aire s D A TA C O L LE C TIO N M E T HO D S C ros s se c tion a l Lon gitud in al T IM E H O R IZ O N S R ES E AR C H ST R AT E G IE S G rou nde d T h e ory E thn og raph y A ctio n R e se a rc h Ca se S tud y S u rv ey E xp erim en t D e du ctive Ind uctive Interp retivis m R ea lism Re se arch Ph ilos op hy R e sea rch A pp roac he s R ese arc h S trateg ie s Figure 2: The research onion – Saunders, Lewis, Thornhill (2003, p83) Saunders, Lewis et al.(2003, p87) perpetuate this polar opposite interpretation by arguing that followers of inductive approach would also criticize the deductive approach because of its tendency to construct a rigid methodology that does not permit alternative explanations of what is going on. This again creates, in terms of students and researchers, a situation of an either or approach to research. Inferring that it is not possible to use an inductive and deductive approach within the same piece of research. Saunders, Lewis et al (2003) do identify that such labeling is potentially misleading and of no practical value. However this caveat is not enough to persuade students and researchers that methods are dependent on the research questions not on one’s philosophical stance. Therefore this non rational alignment between positivism, quantitative methods and deduction and the opposing alignment of critical interpretivism, qualitative methods and induction limits and confuses the research process, within the eyes of the student researcher. Waring (2000, p2) sums up this mismatch by highlighting that this naïve approach and understanding is unfounded by saying it is a mistake to adopt only one approach in some form or another,……… methodologies are best used in a complementary way.
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  • Two '18
  • ECA
  • Qualitative Research, researcher, Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods

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