Research, Idea Generation and Exploration – How New Ideas are Developed Pt. 1

Much of my research methods tend to be structured to follow a more scientific approach in that I impose case study, ethnography, experimental, action and secondary research practices.

However, I have become accustomed to the following research designs that have worked their way into the majority of my methodologies which fall under the classification of interpretive or positivist depending on the project’s goals.

To summarize these methods:

“Positivist designs seek generalized patterns based on an objective view of reality, while interpretive designs seek subjective interpretations of social phenomena from the perspectives of the subjects involved.” (Bhattacherjee, 2012) Positivism research philosophy can be simplified by the following principles: that the research should aim to explain and predict and that inductive reasoning should be used to develop a thesis that are tested throughout the research process. What is important to keep in mind is that this adheres only to factual knowledge that is increased through observation and is more about reducing and isolation.

Interpretive research is vastly different in that it is similar to qualitative practices but distinct in its approach placing subjects of study in their contexts, historical, linguistic, etc. shaped by the social contexts of human experience. This is an interpretive process rather than a positivist or theory testing approach and is holistic in its approach.

bad argument

Fig. 1 Almossawi and Giraldo. 2013. Hasty Generalization 

Grossly oversimplified in this blog, but the point I am trying to make is that reflection and methods varying in their approach all seem to work together while one is less rigorous in data collecting, it makes up for it by applications such as phenomenology. As these types of research vary in their approach and while one may believe that the other is overgeneralized I believe each method has its place. My approach varies greatly from project to project but always employs mixed modes.


Almossawi, Giraldo (2013) An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments. New York Jasper Collins Publishers [online]

Anol Bhattacherjee, Ph.D (2012) SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH: PRINCIPLES, METHODS, AND PRACTICES Tampa, FL University of South Florida [online] Available at:  [accessed 03-26-2018]

Research Methods for the Social Sciences Chapter 12 Interpretive Research [online] [accessed 03-27-2018]

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