Qualitative research includes traditions associated with foundationalism, positivism postfoundationalism, postpositivism, poststructuralism, and the many qualitative research perspectives, and/or methods connected to cultural and interpretive studies. Epistemology deals with the theory of knowledge. A reflexive researcher actively adopts a theory of knowledge. A less reflexive researcher implicitly adopts a theory of knowledge, as it is impossible to engage in knowledge creation without at least tacit assumptions about what knowledge is and how it is constructed. (Carter and Little, 2007, p. Knowledge creation occurs through a combination of tacit and explicit knowledge; direct experiences during the socialization phase enable the accumulation of tacit knowledge.
In the age of globalization and information revolution, we come to a point where interacting in a network is not uncommon: people and organizations input data and information along with knowledge and expertise and even wisdom. Epistemology influences the relationship between the researcher and the participant. Some theories offer unique worldviews for knowing and understanding human behavior. The objectivist epistemologies present a much different view of the social world than the constructivist epistemologies. The objectivist suggests that reality is independent of the person, whereas the constructivist argues that reality is created by each individual.
Truth is relative according to the constructivist approach whereas the objectivist worldview concludes that truth is absolute. Knowledge development, in the objectivist approach, results from the categorizing of concepts; the constructivist orientation views knowledge as fluid. The constructivist understands science as a process unique to the observer; the Objectivist views science as the core methodology of discovery. Thus, science is the pinnacle of objectivism. A sound knowledge base for social work practice will only emerge from a greater emphasis on science.
(Meinert et al. , 2000, p. 46)
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