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DOI

10.14221/ajte.1997v22n1.5

Abstract

The doctrines of constructivism and scientific realism have had a profound impact on recent progress in educational research. These doctrines are often depicted as conflicting doctrines in theoretical papers and methodology texts dealing with educational research issues. This paper explores the differences between the major tenets of constructivism and scientific reason. Different values ascribed to the scientific method in the context of these two doctrines are also examined. The paper focuses on three problems that have dogged the education research agenda: the conflict between the constructivist and scientific realistic viewpoints on science, the validity of observation statements and the role of relativism in science. An argument is made that discovery science is typically dependent on scientific realism, but that constructivism offers a counterpoint to the excessive scientism inherent in some kinds of empirical research. The most important differences, however, are probably found in their respective orientations to ~arch activity and problem solving. The constructivist favours idiographic research and contextual analysis and the scientific realist is committed to nomothetic methods and empirical generalisation.

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Link to publisher version (DOI)

10.14221/ajte.1997v22n1.5