ABSTRACT

Assumptions of constructivism Deciding to do or not to do constructivist research: Determining

the focus of an inquiry, the fit of the paradigm with the focus of the inquiry, and the paradigm fit with the theory selected to guide the inquiry

Determining the feasibility of undertaking a constructivist inquiry

True constructivist studies must not only conform with the philosophical assumptions of an interpretive paradigm and the theoretical dimensions of constructivism, but must also be in keeping with the explicit assumptions and methods of the research model developed by Yvonna Lincoln and Egon Guba, who first labeled the perspective, “Naturalism” (Lincoln 8c Guba, 1985). In the early days of model development, confusion existed because positivistic research can also be naturalistic research when it occurs in natural, nonlaboratory environments (Denzin, 1971). Further, there was confusion, well articulated by Biklen and Bogdan (1986), between the tools and techniques of naturalistic (positivist) methods and the wholly different way of viewing the world involved in “thinking naturalistically.” In order to make clear that this approach to inquiry was altogether “other,” the title of the model was changed in 1989 (Guba 8c Lincoln) to “Constructivism.” This change in label more accurately reflects its theoretical connections to social construction and its radical departure from conventional research designs and methods.