What Mir & Watson (2000) wrote:

The constructivist view is therefore premised on the belief that a researcher always approaches a problem with a preconceived notion (a default theory) about the nature of the problem, and by implication, a possible solution for it (Fosnot, 1996). Such a perspective is not to be understood as a problem per se, but rather as an inevitable artifact of the research process. Constructivists believe that as long as researchers are transparent about their a priori theoretical position,the process of research is not impeded. However, they oppose a ‘nomothetic’1approach to methodology, which assumes that researchers are essentially discoverers of ‘natural’ phenomena, and that adherence to systematic protocol and technique will eliminate all biases from the research process (Burrell and Morgan, 1979: 6).

1“Of or relating to the study or discovery of general scientific laws”


Mir, R. &Watson, A. 2000. Strategic management and the philosophy of science: the case for a constructivist methodology. Strategic Management Journal, 21: 941–953.

Student interpretation:

…this data is representative of a social artefact – the object of inquiry in a constructivism-based research paradigm…. Usually, this approach to research is undertaken so that a set of resultant findings can be used to develop an artefact (Mir and Watson, 2000).

What Mir & Watson really meant:

Constructivists accept that researchers have ideas in advance about both the research problem and possible solutions. This belief should not be seen as a problem: it’s the unavoidable result of research being what it is [i.e. looking for reasons why something happens the way it does]. Constructivists believe that, as long as researchers are upfront about the explanations they have thought up before they start investigating, there is nothing wrong with their research processes. What they don’t agree with is a methodology based on the discovery of “natural laws” [i.e. a positivist methodology], and the idea that keeping to regular strict procedures will remove all bias from the research process.

Last modified: Thursday, 6 December 2012, 12:25 PM