Difference Between
versus

Positivism vs. Post-Positivism: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed & Dua Fatima || Published on May 26, 2024
Positivism emphasizes observable, empirical evidence and the scientific method, while post-positivism recognizes the limitations of pure objectivity and incorporates subjective perspectives.
Positivism vs. Post-Positivism

Key Differences

Positivism and post-positivism are philosophical approaches that guide research methodologies, especially in the social sciences. Positivism, rooted in the idea that knowledge should be based on natural phenomena and their properties and relations as verified by empirical evidence, advocates for strict adherence to the scientific method. Post-positivism, evolving from critiques of positivism, accepts that while empirical evidence is crucial, researchers' biases and the theory-laden nature of observations mean that knowledge is provisional and subject to revision.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
May 26, 2024
In positivism, reality is seen as objective and discoverable through observation and reason. This perspective implies that with the right tools and methods, researchers can understand the world fully and accurately. Post-positivism, on the other hand, contends that reality is only partially knowable, influenced by the observers' perspectives, and thus, any understanding is inherently fallible and approximate.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
May 26, 2024
Positivism typically employs quantitative methods to test hypotheses and theories, seeking to establish general laws of behavior. Post-positivism, while not rejecting quantitative methods, also embraces qualitative research to capture the complexity of human experience and the subjective aspects of reality.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
May 26, 2024
Ethical considerations in positivism are often framed around the integrity of the scientific process and the avoidance of harm, whereas post-positivism also emphasizes reflexivity, the examination of one's own role, biases, and impact on the research process.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
May 26, 2024
The debate between positivism and post-positivism reflects broader discussions about the nature of knowledge, reality, and the best ways to understand and represent the world, influencing research design, methodology, and interpretation across disciplines.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
May 26, 2024
ADVERTISEMENT

Comparison Chart

View of Reality

Objective and knowable through empirical evidence.
Partially knowable, influenced by observers.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
May 26, 2024

Methodological Approach

Quantitative, emphasizing observation and experimentation.
Combines quantitative with qualitative methods.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
May 26, 2024

Role of Researcher

Detached observer, minimizing personal bias.
Reflective, acknowledging and integrating bias.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
May 26, 2024

Knowledge Claims

Absolute, based on observable facts.
Provisional, subject to revision.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
May 26, 2024

Ethical Considerations

Integrity of scientific process, avoidance of harm.
Reflexivity, ethical responsibility in representation.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
May 26, 2024
ADVERTISEMENT

Positivism and Post-Positivism Definitions

Positivism

Advocates for the use of the scientific method in research.
Through positivism, scientists aim to predict and control phenomena.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 27, 2024

Post-Positivism

Acknowledges the complexity and subjectivity of knowledge.
Post-positivists examine how personal perspectives shape research.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 27, 2024

Positivism

Seeks to uncover universal truths about the world.
Positivism drives the search for generalizable laws in physics.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 27, 2024

Post-Positivism

Stresses the importance of reflexivity in research.
Researchers reflect on their biases and how they may affect their work.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Feb 27, 2024

Positivism

A belief in empirical evidence as the sole source of knowledge.
Positivists rely on controlled experiments to understand natural laws.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Feb 27, 2024
ADVERTISEMENT

Post-Positivism

Recognizes the provisional nature of understanding.
Post-positivists are open to revising theories in light of new evidence.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 27, 2024

Positivism

Regards quantitative data as the foundation of knowledge.
Positivists analyze statistical trends to formulate theories.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Feb 27, 2024

Post-Positivism

Combines empirical evidence with theoretical frameworks.
Post-positivism uses qualitative methods to explore societal norms.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Feb 27, 2024

Positivism

Emphasizes objectivity and detachment in observation.
Positivist researchers avoid influencing the outcomes of their studies.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 27, 2024

Post-Positivism

Values both quantitative and qualitative data.
Post-positivists use mixed methods to capture the multifaceted nature of reality.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Feb 27, 2024

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Why do post-positivists use qualitative research methods?

Qualitative methods allow post-positivists to explore the subjective meanings, experiences, and complexities of human life that cannot be fully captured through quantitative measures alone.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
May 26, 2024

Can post-positivism be considered a rejection of positivism?

Not a rejection, but an evolution that builds upon positivism by addressing its limitations, particularly the objectivity of knowledge and the influence of observer bias.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
May 26, 2024

What role does the researcher play in positivist vs. post-positivist research?

In positivist research, the researcher is a detached observer, minimizing personal bias. In post-positivist research, the researcher is reflective and acknowledges their own biases and the impact these may have on the research.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
May 26, 2024

What is the main difference between positivism and post-positivism?

Positivism focuses on objective knowledge through empirical evidence and the scientific method, while post-positivism recognizes the limitations of objectivity and includes subjective perspectives and the provisional nature of knowledge.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
May 26, 2024

How do positivism and post-positivism influence research methods?

Positivism favors quantitative methods and empirical verification, while post-positivism incorporates both quantitative and qualitative approaches to accommodate the complexity of studying social phenomena.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
May 26, 2024

What is the significance of reflexivity in post-positivist research?

Reflexivity involves researchers critically examining their own biases, assumptions, and influence on the research process, which is crucial for ensuring ethical and rigorous post-positivist studies.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
May 26, 2024

Can a study be both positivist and post-positivist?

While a study typically aligns more with one philosophy, it can incorporate elements of both, especially in mixed-methods research that seeks to blend quantitative and qualitative insights.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
May 26, 2024

How do ethical considerations differ between positivism and post-positivism?

While both approaches value scientific integrity and the avoidance of harm, post-positivism also emphasizes the ethical responsibility of acknowledging and addressing the researcher's influence on the research process and outcomes.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
May 26, 2024

How do positivism and post-positivism view the nature of reality?

Positivism views reality as objective and discoverable through empirical research, whereas post-positivism sees reality as only partially knowable, shaped by human perception and experience.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
May 26, 2024

How do these philosophies impact the interpretation of research findings?

Positivism seeks definitive, generalizable findings based on empirical data, while post-positivism accepts that findings are tentative and contextual, influenced by the researcher's perspective and the study's limitations.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
May 26, 2024

Share this page

Link for your blog / website
HTML
Link to share via messenger
About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.
Dua Fatima
Co-written by
Dua Fatima

Popular Comparisons

Trending Comparisons

Poster vs. InfographicPoster vs. Infographic
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
A Poster is a large printed image or notice for public display, while an Infographic is a visual representation of information or data.
Japanese Eyes vs. Chinese EyesJapanese Eyes vs. Chinese Eyes
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
Japanese Eyes and Chinese Eyes refer to linguistic structures in Japanese and Chinese respectively, each reflecting unique aspects of grammar and syntax.
Pulley vs. SheavePulley vs. Sheave
Hifza NasirHifza Nasir
April 4, 2024
A pulley is a wheel on an axle designed to support movement and change of direction of a taut cable, while a sheave is the wheel part of a pulley system that specifically interacts with the cable.
LTE vs. CDMALTE vs. CDMA
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 4, 2024
LTE (Long Term Evolution) is a 4G wireless communication standard with high-speed data transfer, while CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) is an older 2G/3G technology for mobile networks.
Nike Air Force 1 LE vs. Nike Air Force 1 '07Nike Air Force 1 LE vs. Nike Air Force 1 ’07
Hifza NasirHifza Nasir
April 16, 2024
Nike Air Force 1 LE often represents limited edition releases with unique designs, while Nike Air Force 1 '07 is a modern version of the classic, maintaining the iconic style with updated materials.
House of Representatives vs. SenateHouse of Representatives vs. Senate
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
The House of Representatives, based on population, drafts tax legislation and impeachment charges, while the Senate, with equal representation per state, tries impeachments and ratifies treaties.
Pycharm Community vs. Pycharm ProPycharm Community vs. Pycharm Pro
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 4, 2024
PyCharm Community is a free, open-source IDE for Python development, while PyCharm Pro is a paid version with additional advanced features like web development support and database tools.
Formal Assessment vs. Informal AssessmentFormal Assessment vs. Informal Assessment
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
Formal assessments are structured and standardized, while informal assessments are flexible and observational.
FPTP vs. PRFPTP vs. PR
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 16, 2024
FPTP (First Past the Post) is a simple plurality voting system where the candidate with most votes wins; PR (Proportional Representation) allocates seats based on the proportion of votes each party receives.
Moms vs. Mom'sMoms vs. Mom’s
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 22, 2024
"Moms" is the plural form of "mom," referring to multiple mothers, while "Mom's" is the possessive form of "mom," indicating something belongs to or is related to a mother.
Shall vs. Shall beShall vs. Shall be
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 14, 2024
"Shall" is a modal verb used to indicate future action or a strong intention, while "shall be" is its future tense form, often implying a sense of obligation or inevitability.
Goth vs. AltGoth vs. Alt
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 5, 2024
Goth is a dark, often Victorian-influenced subculture and style, while Alt (alternative) is a broader term encompassing non-mainstream styles and attitudes.
Login vs. LogonLogin vs. Logon
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
"Login" and "Logon" are often used interchangeably to describe the process of gaining access to a computer system, but "login" can also refer to the credentials used for access.
Gorilla Glass 3 vs. Gorilla Glass 5Gorilla Glass 3 vs. Gorilla Glass 5
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
January 1, 2024
Gorilla Glass 3 offers improved scratch resistance and durability compared to its predecessors, while Gorilla Glass 5 focuses on enhanced drop protection and toughness.
Contact Force vs. Field ForceContact Force vs. Field Force
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
Contact Force is a force applied through physical contact, while Field Force acts over a distance without physical contact.
Term vs. SemesterTerm vs. Semester
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
Term is a general period for any division of the academic year, while Semester specifically refers to half of an academic year.
2 Pole Motors vs. 4 Pole Motors2 Pole Motors vs. 4 Pole Motors
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
2 Pole Motors have one pair of magnetic poles and run at higher speeds, while 4 Pole Motors have two pairs of poles and operate at lower speeds, offering higher torque.
NM3 vs. M3NM3 vs. M3
Hifza NasirHifza Nasir
April 19, 2024
NM3 measures gas volume under Normal conditions (0°C and 1.01325 bar), while M3 measures volume under the conditions at which it is measured, without standard adjustment.
Cache Memory vs. Main MemoryCache Memory vs. Main Memory
Hifza NasirHifza Nasir
May 18, 2024
Cache memory is a fast, volatile memory for quick access to frequently used data, enhancing processor speed. Main memory (RAM) is a larger, slower volatile memory for currently used data and programs.
FHSS vs. DSSSFHSS vs. DSSS
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 25, 2024
FHSS (Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum) uses rapid frequency changes within a band. DSSS (Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum) spreads signals over a wider frequency using a code.
Armani Exchange vs. Emporio ArmaniArmani Exchange vs. Emporio Armani
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 4, 2024
Armani Exchange is a youth-focused, more affordable fashion line under the Armani brand, while Emporio Armani is a higher-end line targeting young adults with a modern style.
2chan vs. 4chan2chan vs. 4chan
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 1, 2024
2chan is a Japanese imageboard primarily for sharing images and discussion. 4chan is an English-language imageboard with a diverse range of topics and more international user base.
Happen vs. OccurHappen vs. Occur
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
"Happen" refers to events or actions taking place, often with an unplanned or casual connotation, while "occur" implies events or phenomena that take place, often with a more formal or scientific tone.
Fluid vs. LiquidFluid vs. Liquid
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 13, 2024
Fluids encompass all substances that flow (including gases and liquids), while liquids specifically refer to fluids with a definite volume but no fixed shape, adapting to their container.

Featured Comparisons

New Comparisons