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Post Positivism: Knowledge From Different Perspectives

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    Post-positivism is a meta-theoretical philosophical position that seeks to amend some of the assumptions made by positivism. Under post-positivism, human knowledge is not based on solid unchallengeable tenets rather is a result of the amalgamation of different human conjectures. Post-positivism is based on the belief that human knowledge is conjectural; underlying knowledge can be questioned through further investigation (Groff, 2004). Through continuous research and refinements on the prevailing truths an objective truth is approached.

    Knowledge from different perspectives and triangulation of information from different sources is promoted under post-positivism. The adoption of post-positivism for the research problem would imply that the assumption that satisfaction is influential on franchisor and franchisee relationship has to be reviewed (Groff, 2004). This is an important step that may actually provide pointers to assessing the effects the relationship between franchisor and franchisee on the success of a franchise. Relationship between two entities may be affected by both qualitative and quantitative variables.

    Post-positivism as a correction to the assumptions made under positivism allows for the inclusion of variables that cannot be measured in analyzing given scenarios or problems. This is in line with the assertion that different conjectures contribute to the overall knowledge developed of an entity or a development. By adopting post-positivism to the research problem, it is possible to analyze the existence of qualitative variables that influence longevity or the nature of interaction between the relationship and success of the franchise.

    Lastly, the adoption of post positivism as the leading philosophical stance in addressing the research problem would result in preference for a mixed design that allows for incorporation of different data collection mechanism. This is a measure that will seek triangulation of findings from different data and information sources on the effects of the franchisor /franchisee relationship on franchise success. Importantly, the effects being investigated in the study do not necessarily have to be a measurable or have quantitative value rather they can be qualitative factors.

    Constructivism Constructivism as a school of philosophical thought is based on the premise that human reflection of their own experiences can be used in constructing or developing a better understanding of the world. Under constructivism, it is believed that everyone has a mental model or rules that are used in rationalizing and understanding personal experiences (Creswell, 2007). Thus learning under constructivism is viewed as a process of accommodating the new models through adjusting the mental models (Creswell, 2007).

    This when applied to research implies that research is the search for understanding and must therefore start with issues that are well understood. An important influence of constructivism when applied to research is that it emphasizes on the need to look at parts as well as wholes when analyzing a problem. This implies that in researching on a given area it is important to note the primary concepts involved and prioritizing facts should be avoided.

    The problem as defined by the problem statements is determining if there is a causal relationship between the franchisor /franchisee relationship and the success of the franchise. The wholes being analyzed include the relationship between franchisor and franchisee and the success of a franchise which may be divided into several subparts. Adoption of constructivism to the problem would require an analysis of the sub problems and the ‘wholes’. This affects the approach to data collection because constructivism requires movement from the known to the unknown.

    A review of the existing literature and data in the research area has to be included in the research strategy if a constructivism philosophical stance is adopted for the research problem. Advocacy/Participatory Advocacy and participatory research are predominantly transformative and concerned with issues of social justice. The core aspects in participatory research are participation and accessing local knowledge. Most researchers are of the view that participatory research if carried out well enhance the validity of the findings since the participative, relational and social nature of human nature are captured (Mertens, 2005).

    Though advocacy research may be viewed as one-dimensional and potentially biased towards reinforcing a given viewpoint, participation of the entities affected or the key entities in the core areas of such studies improve the authenticity of the findings. Advocacy is concerned with heightening the levels of awareness on social issues so as to influence policy direction. Advocacy studies are based on the notion that theory is a basis for awareness and policy formulation.

    This is the case in the problem statement since the poor performance of small and medium scale businesses is an issue of economic and therefore social importance. If a participatory or advocacy research philosophy is adopted in the study, the methodology will be vastly affected. This is mainly because emphasis will be placed on actual participation of the franchisor and franchisee in data collection. Primary data collection which is perceived to be less gullible to researcher bias and more objective may also the preferable data collection approach.

    Pragmatism Pragmatism is mainly concerned with the truth of a proposition or an ideology. Under pragmatism, a proposition holds true if it works satisfactorily and therefore the meaning of a proposition can only be found in the consequences of its acceptance. This in essence implies that an idea that cannot be put into practice and therefore has no practical consequences has to be rejected. In a nutshell, pragmatism is based on the notion that the truth of an idea has to be tested for validity.

    The primacy of practice is one of the key tenets under pragmatism. Primacy of practice is based on the premise that human capacity is an integral aspect of intelligent practice. Thus, under pragmatism theory and practice are not viewed as separate spheres. Most pragmatists are of the view that the question of theory versus practice is invalid rather focus should be on intelligent versus uninformed practice (Creswell, 2003). Additionally, theory is perceived by pragmatist as an abstraction of direct experience that must in turn inform experience.

    This implies that emphasis should be on determining the validity of the research strategy adopted rather than whether it is theoretical or practical. Adoption of pragmatism in analyzing the research problem would result in the inclusion of theory. It is quite evident that the problem is stated in a more practical realm however the adoption of pragmatism as the leading philosophical tenet would allow for the inclusion of theories in understanding and addressing the problem. Another important implication of adopting this school of thought is that emphasis will be placed on the validity of the findings.

    This affects the research design and the methodological strategies that will be included in the study. Conclusion The adopted schools of thought are influential on the perception of the role of research and the areas that should be awarded more weight. The adopted philosophical school of thought therefore affects the methodological strategies that will be adopted in addressing the research problem. However, the research problem has minimal effects on the different philosophical schools of thought.

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