Epistemological Paradigms in the social sciences: A Guide for Researchers
This article presents a scholarly debate on the main paradigms discussed by researchers and explored in the epistemological landscape of social and management sciences from which a researcher can draw inspiration to position his/her epistemological status, namely: positivism, constructivism and interpretivism. Positivism is a paradigm based on a rigorous scientific approach to understand the world. Researchers who adhere to this paradigm attempt to establish universal laws that explain social phenomena. Constructivism, on the other hand, assumes that reality is constructed by individuals through their social interaction. Researchers adhering to this paradigm seek to understand how individuals make sense of their social environment. Finally, interpretivism is a paradigm that relies on interpreting individuals’ meanings and motivations in order to understand their behaviors. Researchers adhering to this paradigm seek to understand how individuals perceive their social environment and how it influences their behaviors. These paradigms serve as a reference point for researchers to position their epistemological status. They also aim to derive a certain type of reasoning that a researcher chooses to defend his or her thesis, accompanied by an appropriate research methodology to carry out a good construction of knowledge on which a research project can be based. In other words, the article aims to help researchers justify and prove the scientific validity of their research.