Friday, 8 March 2013

MIS Research Methodology Course (2) Positivism V.S Interpretivism

MIS Research Methodology Course (2) 

Positivism V.S Interpretivism

What are different Philosophical schools of thought “world view”?
Interpretivism and Positivism

What is Ontology?
Ontology means “what is the reality?” Reality could be Constructionist or Realist (objectivist)

What is difference between Constructionist and Realist Ontology?
Constructionist believes that reality is formed and shaped in the minds of people. And this reality is different from organization to organization and from country to country. What is right in Egypt may be not right in US.
Realist Ontology believes that there is a single reality and all people in the world have the same reality. Therefore, it is better to use it for universal laws and building conceptual models.

What is Epistemology?
Epistemology means the theory of getting the knowledge. Epistemology could be Interpretivist or Empiricist.  It addresses the relationship between the knower and what is known? How do we know what we know? What counts as knowledge?

What is the difference between Interpretivist and Empiricist?
Interpretivist means that you look, observe, or listen and interpret what you see or listen.
Empiricist means you experiment your hypothesis in an objective way to get the knowledge.

What are different research designs?
Fixed design and Flexible design

Compare between Positivism and Interpretivism.

Goal of the research
Filling knowledge gap or finding universal laws
Solving problem , how do situational and cultural variations shape the reality
Single reality in the mind of people
No single reality – reality is different from context to context
“What is the reality”
“How can we get the reality”
Research Approach
Deductive  (you test the theory or test the explanation)
Inductive  (you develop your theory)
Research Methods
Focus Group, Observation, and Interviews.
Research Design
Fixed Design
Flexible Design
Thesis, Paper structure, or Conference paper
Abstract, Introduction, Literature Review, Theoretical Framework, Literature Review, Research Methodology, Data Collection, Analysis, and Validation.
Abstract, Introduction, Aims & Objectives, Research Questions, Research Methodology, Literature Review, Data Collection, Analysis, and Validation
Impersonal voice.
Personal voice.
Validated using statistics
Validating using interviews
You could generalize
You could not generalize the idea.
You can compare results from different studies since there are standardized statistical tools
You cannot compare easily since the observers are different
Quantitative, Objectivism
Qualitative, Subjectivism
Problem as a whole are better understood if they are reduced into the simplest possible elements
Problems as a whole are better understood if the totality of the situation is looked at.

Suggested Readings

Tuli (1997) “The Basis Distinction between qualitative and quantitative research in social science: Reflection on ontological, epistemological and methodological perspectives”, available on Facebook group.
Holden & Lynch “Choosing the Appropriate Methodology: Understanding Research Philosophy”, available on face book group.

The course will be once a week. Therefore, it is expected to finish after 80 weeks or 2 years. The lesson will be recorded Friday night. Then, it will be published Saturday or Sunday via YouTube on this channel 

Additionally, supplementary materials will be published on the facebook group which is

You could also subscribe to this blog to follow up my notes and uploads.
e-mail : 


  1. Hello,
    If you please, I want to know how numbers of the videos for this course since I can see only four of the english videos and the same for the arabic ones. yet, whether the staff is just being in front of me when I open this block or whether there is a browser. I want all what is related to research methodology because I prepare to complete a PHD.
    Thanks a lot Amjad

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