It is crucial that any research inquiry be guided by a paradigm. However, many early career researchers do not mention the research paradigm guiding their inquiry. Furthermore, qualitative and quantitative methods are sometimes erroneously referred to as research paradigms or research designs. Experienced researchers often use the terms research paradigm, research methods and research design in a loose and confusing manner. Although it is reasonable to assume that experienced researchers do understand the distinction and relationship between the three concepts, the loose use of the concepts leads to confusion among early career researchers, especially Master’s and PhD students. By using a literature review, this paper provides an expose of the relationship between these three concepts and highlights the sources of confusion from the literature. A qualitative approach, using a sample of 11 students from different South African universities, is used to provide an understanding of these concepts by early career researchers. The findings show that there is confusion in the understanding of these concepts. The study raises questions about what could be the possible sources of the confusion, besides the literature, and how the confusion could be addressed.
Research Paradigm, Early Career Researchers, Research Methods, Research Design, Qualitative, Quantitative, Confusion, Interconnectedness
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Recommended APA Citation
Makombe, G. (2017). An Expose of the Relationship between Paradigm, Method and Design in Research. The Qualitative Report, 22(12), 3363-3382. Retrieved from https://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol22/iss12/18