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2. Theory and quantitative methodology

The theories introduced in Unit One which would advocate a quantitative approach to research include positivist and empiricism

Quantitative research is influenced by the empiricist paradigm, which means that it is concerned with cause and effect of social phenomena and uses the data - which is based on empirical observation and their critical interpretation

Qualities of quantitative research

  1. Deductive
  2. Begins from theory - i.e. it is established to test theory
  3. Can be used to make generalisations and / or to test hypotheses

Popper and Falsification '...theories cannot be verified absolutely and forever; however, they can be falsified - i.e. they can be proven to be wrong - given a certain degree of certainty (or probability)' (The Logic of Scientific Discovery, 1959)

  1. Testing theories can 'improve ' them, but it cannot 'prove' them
  2. Quantitative research needs to be open and open to criticism - which should be at the heart of quantitative research
  3. Theories that cannot be tested, re-tested and (based on their falsification) be changed should be dismissed
  4. Theory - concept - indicator

For more information about Popper and Falsification, visit http://elm.eeng.dcu.ie/~tkpw/index.html