Research Theory – What is it?

As a result of our last PLC meeting it was agreed we would all write a paper on the research theory/paradigm/thing that we are going to be using in our thesis. This is a really good idea as all four of us seem unclear about this research paradigm/theory/method/thing that everyone talks about. To be honest though it could just be me and the others all get it but I’m still so confused it clouds all else. This is despite reading about research theory, having completed a research methods units and attending several sessions on research. I really don’t get it.

Anyway, I began research for my paper today and found this which has confused me more. It is a very clear, concise guide to theoretical frameworks but then we get to postmodern which is where I thought I was only to find that it rejects theory altogether. Well, this is a problem as I thought I was in discourse theory. So that means I’m not postmodern?

See here is the thing for me. Truth, for positivism is out there and can be measured. It is the same truth for everyone. No matter who drops the apple, it will fall and it will fall every time (right up until the point it doesn’t of course!). Constructivism is about truth being constructed by society. It is an apple because we agree it’s an apple and we have constructed this truth together. Critical theory is about truth being constructed by people more powerful than you and so by understanding that this truth may not be true for you there is empowerment in changing it. Postmodern is truth exists for us all but it is our own truth and no two people may share the same truth and that’s okay. Understanding comes from knowing that the truths are different. That’s my thesis there. Political intent for HE is one truth, business expectation is another and then commodification is the truth that is happening while no one pays enough attention. Well, this is interesting thinking, but it’s not getting this paper done for my PLC group…..

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