A Methodological Blueprint for Social Sciences Research – The Social Sciences Research Methodology Framework
Keywords:Social sciences research practice; research framework; research methods; sociological and methodological dimension; research strategy; research ‘onion’ approach
Most research practice constructs in social sciences are predominantly well defined and constructed,
yet many authors hold different interpretations of certain key terms and concepts, causing a degree of
confusion, overlap and uncertainty. The term ‘qualitative research’ is such a case in point. Not only does this
concept show different interpretations by many authors, but there is also uncertainty about how this concept
relates to exploratory research or other contemporary social research practice concepts. It is also unclear
whether a longitudinal research approach can be applied to qualitative research or related concepts. In order to
provide a clear perspective on the above-mentioned dilemma, the authors recommend the application of the socalled
social sciences research methodology framework, which follows Saunders’ (2009) research ‘onion’
approach. This proposed framework provides an uncluttered and unambiguous guide to social sciences research
methodology with relevant social sciences methodologies and constructs clearly positioned in a structured and
simplistic way. The research employed was fundamental in nature. Inductive rational philosophical reasoning
was used, and a theoretical analysis was applied through a systematic literature review of published text. In the
end, the framework provides a unified understanding of most social sciences research constructs and at the
same time acts as an aiding tool in the evaluation of all academic work, thereby enabling various examiners to
provide clear and unambiguous guidance to contributors and students alike.
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