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Journal Article

Research Philosophy Debates and Classifications: Students’ Dilemma  pp132-140

Marcia Mkansi, Edwin Asiamah Acheampong

© Dec 2012 Volume 10 Issue 2, ECRM, Editor: Ann Brown, pp53 - 153

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Research philosophy classifications such as ontology, epistemology, and anxiology and their conflicting applications to the ‘quantitative‑qualitative’ debates, are a major source of dilemma to research students in establishing their relevance to subjects areas and discipline. A number of studies have used different descriptions, categorisations and classifications of research paradigms and philosophies in relation to research methods with overlapping emphasis and meanings. This has not only resulted in tautological confusion of what is rooted where, and according to whom; but raises a critical question of whether these opposing views are enriching knowledge or subtly becoming toxic in the field? . This paper puts forth a student voice towards these debates and aims to provoke research advocates from their peripheral standpoint to become concerned about this subtle but deepening concern of students and their future impacts. A concerted effort in this direction should eventually result in the development of a planned, systematic framework and procedure that show some consensus to bail research students from these bewildering classifications and debates. The paper briefly reviews, discusses, and analyses these research philosophy classifications and debates and provides a mapping thereby through literature. Then, assesses how they impact on research students through case studies based on three North West Universities in the UK. Responses were elicited using structured interview questionnaires where students fall into different faculties and subject groupings for comparison purposes. Although the findings paint a grim picture of research, they are not conclusive to all UK students as the sample studied is skewed geographically. Future studies must survey the impact from other geographical locations. It is the conglomeration of these studies that will provide the ‘real’ magnitude of the impact on research students. This paper contributes to discussions on research methods and calls for a consensus in the field of research.


Keywords: research philosophy, debates, students, dilemma


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