All communication is an act of sharing ideology. But how do you understand the ideologies of people who you cannot talk to?
Whenever I come across a new name, I quickly google them and thankfully, the first thing that Google shows is Quotes by the person. These quotes are condensed shots of the person’s ideology, giving me instant idea of what the person was like.
- Half the people that ever lived died because of the bite of a mosquito
- Zika cases were 14 from 1947 when it was first reported in Africa to 2015 and now estimates are that eventually 2.5 billion people will be affected by it.
- Every disease needs a carrier to become an epidemic, and mosquitoes are the ideal carriers.
Positivism is a philosophical system first developed by Auguste Comte (1798-1857). This system maintains that knowledge is about description rather than questioning. Positivists recognise only positive facts and observable events – those things that can be seen, measured and be counted as facts. The system equates very closely with the traditional, scientific view of the world. In fact, Comte drew his ideas from the “scientific” world view that was developing at the time, and applied them to the world of sociological thought. Positivism takes little account of beliefs or feelings, although strangely some of its more extreme protagonists seem to be drawn towards mysticism.
Begun by Edmund Husserl (1859 – 1938) in the 1890s, phenomenology is a very different way of viewing the world in comparison to positivism. Phenomenologists are concerned with what things mean, rather than with identifying and measuring phenomena. They are particularly interested in the idea that human experience is a valuable source of data, as opposed to the idea that true research or discovery lies in simply measuring the existence of physical phenomena.
The following activity will allow you to explore some of the basic beliefs of positivism and phenomenology, how these would influence what a researcher might do and the types of research methods most favoured by positivists and phenomenologists:
Positivist and phenomenological paradigms online quiz.
Positivist and phenomenological paradigms quiz to print out or save to your file store.