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Research Methods in the Social Sciences: An A-Z of key concepts

Research Methods in the Social Sciences: An A-Z of key concepts (1st edn)

Jean-Frédéric Morin, Christian Olsson, and Ece Özlem Atikcan
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date: 02 December 2021

p. 209P. Paradigms and Research Programmeslocked

p. 209P. Paradigms and Research Programmeslocked

  • Andreas Dimmelmeier
  •  and Sheila Dow

Abstract

This chapter studies paradigms and research programmes. A paradigm consists of a set of understandings of a scientific community during a historical period. At the most fundamental level, paradigms employ ontological assumptions. This means that the scientific community agrees on which things and phenomena exist and are meaningful for scientific inquiry. These assumptions determine the type of scientific investigations that are deemed worth pursuing. In addition, scientists inside a paradigm share a common methodological understanding of how to do science. Against the background of these broad and general understandings, scientists inside a paradigm formulate theories and carry out empirical research. Imre Lakatos developed the concept of ‘research programmes’ as an alternative to ‘paradigms’.

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