Pathirage, C. P., Amaratunga, Dilanthi and Haigh, Richard (2008) The role of philosophical context in the development of theory: Towards methodological pluralism. The Built and Human Environment Review, 1 (1). ISSN 1759-0574

The research strategy dictates the major direction of the research and constitutes one of the important decisions made by the researcher. However, researchers? understanding on theory at the outset of the research guides the design of the research. The paper presents an overview of the involvement of theory within different research philosophies, approaches and methods. The relationship between data and theory is an issue that has been long debated. Moving from data to theory is commonly discussed in social constructionism with inductive approach and ideographic methods. However, within positivism philosophy with deductive approach and nomothetic methods, moving from theory to data is common. However, the growing concept of philosophical pluralism and methodological pluralism challenges the polarised views on philosophies and approaches, which suggests that methodologies are best used in complementary way.

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