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Record Type: Review   ID: 187

Naturalistic Inquiry

Lincoln, Yvonna S., & Guba, Egon G.

 The authors, in a well-known research handbook, offer an alternative to the scientific paradigm. They point out that cracks have begun to open in the edifice of science itself with which the scientific paradigm cannot deal. The scientific paradigm is being challenged by alternate worldviews, including the naturalistic, which they say is also at the base of the "postpositivististic. ethnographic, phenomenological, subjective, case study, qualitative, hermeneutic, humanistic" approaches (p. 7). This book is "aimed at helping the reader both to understand and to do naturalistic inquiry" (p. 9). The first seven chapters present arguments against the conventional scientific paradigm. The second chapter, in particular, argues on behalf of the legitimacy of naturalistic inquiry. The next five chapters each deal with a basic axiom of the scientific method. In each case, evidence is presented from the hard sciences to show that a paradigm shift is not only called for in the social and human sciences. The eighth chapter describes the complex of methods most congenial to naturalistic inquiry. The next five chapters set forth what is involved in carrying out a naturalistic inquiry. The case history is the reporting method most often used in naturalistic inquiry, and two approaches are described in Chapter 13 that correspond to reliability and validity checks in conventional science: member checking and auditing. This is an interesting work because it clarifies the connections between paradigm and methodology for both the conventional and unconventional paradigms. It therefore can serve as a useful basis for discussion as well as a guide to naturalistic inquiry.
Publisher Information:Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1985. 414p. Bibl: 393-408. Index: 409-414; 2 tables
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