Education has continued to grow in stature and significance as an academic discipline. In addition to world renowned research studies the growth of education has been seen in the methodology and methods underpinning its research. The BERA/SAGE Handbook of Educational Research provides a cutting edge account of the research and methodology that is creating new understandings for education research, policy and practice. Over two volumes, the handbook addresses educational research in six essential components: Section 1: Understanding Research Section 2: Planning Research Section 3: Approaches to Research Section 4: Acquiring Data Section 5: Analysing Data Section 6: Reporting, Disseminating and Evaluating Research Featuring contributions from more than 50 of the biggest names in the international field, The BERA/SAGE Handbook of Educational Research represents a very significant contribution to the development of education.

A Positivist Orientation: Hypothesis Testing and the ‘Scientific Method'

A Positivist Orientation: Hypothesis Testing and the Scientific Method
Roger Gomm

Introduction

The term ‘positivism’ refers to the philosophical under-pinning of mainstream natural sciences. This assumes (ontologically) that there are entities and processes in the world that exist irrespective of what researchers might believe – ‘mind-independent entities', and that scientists can approximate the truth about them: a position known as ‘realism'. That world is conceptualized in terms of variables interacting with each other in cause and effect sequences which will always happen in similar ways in similar circumstances. For positivism, knowledge can only be justified as ‘scientific’ if it is:

  • based on measured (quantitative) observations of empirical evidence – that is evidence of the ...
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