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Positivism is an epistemological perception which states that only knowledge which is based on sensory experience and positive verification is authentic knowledge. More simply worded, positivism is the view that all true knowledge is scientific, and that all things are ultimately measureable.Positivism emerged from the success of the scientific approach in natural sciences such as physics, chemistry, and biology. The impetus for this came from the overwhelming success of science in understanding and solving problems in the natural world.The ontology of positivism is realism; an apprehend able reality that is assumed to exist, driven by immutable natural laws and mechanisms. Knowledge of the “ways things are” is conventionally summarised in the form of time- and context-free generalizations, some of which take the form of cause-effect laws. Research can, in principle, converge on the “true” state of affairs. The basic posture of the paradigm is argued to be both reductionist and deterministic.The epistemology of positivism is dualist and objectivist; meaning the investigator and the investigated “object” are assumed to be independent entities, and the investigator to be capable of studying the object without influencing it or being influenced by it. When influence in either direction (threats to validity) is recognised, or even suspected, various strategies are followed to reduce or eliminate it. Inquiry takes place as through a one-way mirror. Values biases are prevented from influencing outcomes, so long as the prescribed procedures are rigorously followed. Replicable findings are, in fact, “true”.


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