Explore BrainMass

Research Methods

Compare and contrast the three research methodologies (analytical approach, systems approach, and actors approach) that are presented by Arbnor and Bjerke. What are the basic paradigmatic assumptions? Which of the three has provided the most useful knowledge? What are the key strengths of the three methodologies? What are the key vulnerabilities of the three? What is the future of these methodologies in creating management theory?

Solution Preview

Research strategy, approach and methodology -


Basic Paradigmatic Assumptions

In the analytical approach, we rely on reality, models, causal relations, explanations, hypotheses, deductive and inductive reasoning, verification, and operational definitions (Arbnor, 1997). Reality is independent of its observers. That is to say we don't necessarily control variables, but that we still must obtain objective and factual knowledge. Those things that are invariant are accepted as true to the researcher. The analytical approach connects causal relations to invariant events. The two questions we ask are: "What is given?" and "How do we explain 'what is given'?" We use pictures or models of an objective reality. Causal relations, explanations, and hypotheses are used to draw out logical consequences that may be determined. A hypothesis may be based on a factual trend, past knowledge, or on intuition. There may be many relational and causational factors to explain a given effect. Induction and deduction allow Hall, p. 5 for a more subjective and reasonable analysis, by observers, in general terms. Concepts or constructs may be used to organize data, in an attempt to discover relationships. In the end, we engage in an analysis of all that is known. That is, we investigate the existing facts that we may collect through the above elements. It is the goal of the analytical approach to determine a problem and then describe it, explain it, forecast it, and guide it. The systems approach offers its own concepts and language to support the approach (Arbnor, 1997). Systems ideology simply refers to the inter-relation of many components, as opposed to independent components. Systems theory recognizes a set of related components. Whether we study society and social issues, an organization, or an internal-combustion engine, we can see the systems approach as very common and relevant today. A system may be open or closed; an open system simply refers to a system where some components are beyond the control of the organization or dominant system. Each component is potentially a system all its own. Systems may be observed as a model, such as a structural perspective. Systems analysis depicts a system in a model, without changing the actual system. Systems construction depicts a system in a model for the purpose of creating a new system. A mechanical system is a closed system, usually consisting of few and simple components. A biological system is a fluid, learning, and changing system. They can respond to feedback and change from the resulting increase in knowledge. Systems researchers are not as interested in reaching the literal, analytical truth. Rather, they offer explanations, often explaining a person's actions in the context of other systems components. Something conditions their behavior or action. Systems analysis builds models of real systems to describe and explain them. Explanations are given as the result of or in the context of the larger system. The actors approach explains the ambiguity and changeability of reality as a result of the creator's interaction with dialectic connections (connections dependent on the observer) (Arbnor, 1997). This is to say that there is an inherent researcher bias in the creation of knowledge. We prove what we set out to prove, or we find what we were hoping to find. In determining meaning to a set of known facts, there is great room for subjective inference. Intentionality is a concept that argues we aren't merely attracted to something by our senses, but rather we reach out to it. We intentionally connect with our environment. A researcher may indeed be very deliberate in seeking out knowledge. This researcher may engage in dialogue, making extensive use of questions and answers to find observable knowledge. Through dialectics (conversation), a researcher may obtain valuable information. In researching people, it is arguable that the actors approach may be very valid, but not necessarily in a void of the other two approaches. Reality is seen as a social construct, resulting from an interaction of the actor and all other people. Researchers have to internalize their findings, meaning that we accept the reality and world in which other people live. We mere mortals are a result of the social and environmental construct.

Methodological approaches

? can be referred to as different views on when and how to use various methods when doing research as well as different opinions about what each method really means.

? make different assumptions about reality, which serve as a guide for the researcher.

Department of Public Technology

? Explanaticists are of the opinion that there is no fundamental difference between the natural and the ...

Solution Summary

MS Word Document - Three research methodologies (analytical approach, systems approach, and actors approach) that are presented by Arbnor and Bjerke, basic paradigmatic assumptions, key strengths of the three methodologies, key vulnerabilities of the three, the future of these methodologies in creating management theory.
9 Pages
3127 Words
77 Paragraphs
4 References