AWEJ Volume.4 Number.4, 2013                                                                  Pp. 252 -264

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    Research Paradigms: Researchers’ Worldviews, Theoretical Frameworks and Study Designs

Sayyed Rashid Shah
Faculty of Engineering
King Abdul-Aziz University, Saudi Arabia

Abdullah Al-Bargi
English Language Institute
King Abdul-Aziz University, Saudi Arabia


For novice researchers, in the fields of educational and social research, the choice of an appropriate research paradigm and relevant methodology is an uphill task. The vast amount of literature on this subject further exacerbates the confusion of early-career researchers. Hence, the current paper introduces them to the philosophical underpinnings of three major research paradigms in research. It delineates the positivistic, interpretive, and critical paradigms with an aim to seek a connexion among the ontology, epistemology, methodology and methods of each paradigm. In addition, it explores various underlying assumptions in educational research that have an impact on researchers’ world views, theoretical frameworks and study designs.
Keywords: methods; methodology; research paradigms; study designs; worldviews



Mr. Sayyed Rashid Shah is a lecturer in English at King Abdul-Aziz University, Saudi Arabia.
He earned a master degree in TESOL from Sheffield Hallam University, UK. He is currently
enrolled on EdD TESOL programme at University of Exeter, UK. Mr. Shah‟s research interests
include language teacher development, educational leadership and management, TESOL
pedagogies, and EFL classroom teaching and learning