That is to say if researchers focus on one approach

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That is to say if researchers focus on one approach, all of the time, there is a possibility of losing sight of the bigger picture. 6. The relationship between philosophy, theory and research methods The relationship between research philosophy and research method is an important one, as highlighted by Easterby- Smith et al, (2002), as it allows one to: Take a more informed decision about the research approach; Decide which method(s) are appropriate for the piece of research, and; To think about constraints which may impinge on the research Pickard and Dixon (2003, p2) in their article address similar issues when they ask does the choice of a methodology ISSN 1477-7029
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Karl Knox 124 imply adhesion to the axioms of an individual paradigm or is it possible to mix and match methodologies to achieve a research goal? Therefore for the researcher designing a project there is a requirement to identify and understand the relationship between theory and methods. The aim is not to say that there is no relationship between research philosophy and research methods. At best the concept of philosophical pluralism and methodological pluralism is trying to identify that a method does not select a theory but that there is an elective affinity between a theory and a method. This is not the same as saying that if one follows a positivistic epistemology one would use quantitative methods and a deductive approach. The idea of an elective affinity (Mutch 2004) allows one to identify that one’s ontological views do in fact select, or lend themselves to certain approaches but being aware of these allows one to select what is best, from the myriad of tools available, for a particular piece of research. This relationship between philosophy and methods can be described as follows: If one thinks that the social world is constructed by narrative and that there is no means of discriminating either between story and reality or between different stories, then one can’t (logically) employ methods that assume an external reality. There would be no point, as one does not believe there is such a reality to be counted or categorized. The only outcome of this would be to write narratives that appear more persuasive. (Mutch 2004) Therefore the concept of an elective affinity allows one to state that there is such a relationship between theory and methods. In hindsight, there is no question that such an affinity exists, given the regard for natural sciences elicited between positivist social science researchers and quantitative methods. What is argued is that although this relationship is identified it is not regarded as totally exclusive, as argued by Saunders, Lewis et al (2003) with their view of ethnography. Saunders, Lewis et al (2003, p93) argue that ethnography is firmly rooted in the inductive approach which ties in a particular methodology to a particular approach. i.e. it [ethnography] emanates from the field of anthropology. The purpose is to interpret the social world the research subjects inhabit in the way in which they interpret it.
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  • Two '18
  • ECA
  • Qualitative Research, researcher, Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods

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