How does worldview affect research?

Abhijeet Modi/ September 4, 2021/ Blog

In his research work of 1990, Guba explains worldview as a set of beliefs or mindsets that affect action. It is a sum of people’s approaches, thinking, actions, etc., that primarily reflect their view on any research proposition that comes to their notice. Worldview is also defined as paradigms and the research methodology methods that a researcher applies based on past experiences.

Types of worldview

There are four prevalent worldviews:

  1. Postpositivism: It stands on the premise that there is nothing called absolute positive. Every belief is challengeable and cannot remain true; someone will always stand up and question its truthfulness at some point in time. Challenging an existing belief is the main feature of postpositivism.
  2. Social Constructivism: Every individual seeks an understanding of the world around them. They have the subjective meaning of their experiences; the meanings can be direct, implicit, varied, and sometimes of leading nature.
  3. Advocacy Worldview: This view came into the picture to make research surveys more inclusive. The opinion of the marginalized individuals of the society mattered too.
  4. Pragmatic Worldview: It arises out of actions and situations and indicates possibilities or outcomes that may appear from this worldview.

As a researcher, one picks any of these worldviews in the inquiry methods and uses them as base for learning theories, assumptions, and research methodologies employed.

Effect of Worldview on Research

Worldview is an essential contributing factor that helps develop research design. It offers different viewpoints on what can or should we know, how we reach upon the knowledge and where to extract information from to accomplish research purposes.

  1. What can we know – Ontology. The research world is conspicuously divided into two sides. One side stands by the existence of observational reality. It means the fact does exist whether we believe it or not. The other side of researchers claims that reality is subjective. It depends merely on how we are conditioned to acknowledge its existence.
  2. How can we know – Epistemology. It is the method used to arrive at a conclusion. It stems from ontology. The researchers based on their either subjective or objective viewpoint will choose the methodology. For example, subjectivity supporters may opt for surveys, questionnaires, direct questioning, etc. Objectivity advocates will just explore the secondary sources and establish the hypothesis based on findings.
  3. From where can we know – Will it involve the use of theory or logic? What should be applied to the information collected by various means – theory or logic? This helps define whether the research will be exploratory, experimental, or a mix of both.

To conclude,

Worldview defines the research’s course. The researchers come with the baggage of knowledge, experience, and guidance and put these to contemplate research design. It is their viewpoint that drifts them towards a certain subject, helps them pick the research method, and allows them to apply inferences by using either logic or theory.

The ultimate effect of worldview is that it brands the research in some way. Thus, it helps ascertain if the research has been done in the correct direction as per the norms set for that particular type of exploration. In a nutshell, the worldview helps bring credibility, compliance and direction to the research process.

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