Questions concerning the nature of reality (ontology), how reality should be researched (methodology), and what constitutes meaningful knowledge (epistemology) not merely invite philosophical deliberations, but also have practical implications. The paper argues that ontological and epistemological positions often inform methodological choices. Certain methodological selections are reinforced by certain perspectives on philosophical questions as to what constitutes science and what qualifies as a scientific research. From a critical-realist perspective, this paper reflects on ontological and epistemological implications of qualitative-quantitative divide and presents the arguments for and against combining qualitative and quantitative methods. While arguing for mainstreaming mixed-methods approach as a viable alternative in social sciences, the paper also discusses possible challenges of the approach.
|Keywords:||Ontology, Epistemology, Methodology, Critical Realism, Qualitative Methods, Quantitative Methods, Mixed-methods|
PhD Candidate, Department of Political and Economic Studies, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland