Chapter 1: Introduction Next Chapter

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Methodology is focused on the specific ways – the methods – that we can use to try to understand our world better. It is useful at this point to consider the history of methodological and scientific thought, particularly with respect to positivism, the philosophy on which much of our stereotypes and beliefs about science originate. Let us begin by considering what positivism is. In its broadest sense, positivism is a rejection of metaphysics. It is a position that holds that the goal of knowledge is simply to describe the phenomena that we experience. The purpose of science is simply to stick to what we can observe and measure. Knowledge of anything beyond that, a positivist would hold, is impossible.

In a positivist view of the ...

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