Social Research in Occupational Science: Theory and Philosophy in Research Design

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Abstract

Background and Rationale:

There have been increasing calls for socially oriented research in occupational science (Kinsella, 2012). Many interpretive and critical approaches to research draw on prominent social science thinkers and weave theoretical and philosophical lenses into the research design (Crotty, 2003). An understanding of such underpinnings and how they might shape research practice is important for advancing the quality of scholarship in occupational science.

Objective & Approach:

This paper considers the question: What is the role of theory and philosophy in the design of research in occupational science. The authors consider broad schools of social science theory and philosophy with relevance to occupational science; apply a framework developed by Crotty (2003) to examine the relationship of epistemological, theoretical and philosophical perspectives, to methodology, methods and research designs to two exemplars of theoretically and philosophically informed occupational science doctoral research. Insights with respect to building a rigorous socially informed occupational science research project are considered. The presenters plan to engage the audience in an activity to foster reflexivity about their own research designs.

Implications & Conclusions:

The authors contend that attention to philosophy and theory is crucial to the design of coherent and rigorous social research in occupational science, and that attention to such dimensions has much to offer research in occupational science. This paper contributes to knowledge with respect to how some researchers are interpreting and taking up this charge within the field of occupational science, and has implications for other researchers seeking to build theoretically and philosophically robust research. The authors intend to facilitate a dialogue with the occupational scientists in attendance with respect to their perspectives on theory and philosophy in occupational science research, as a form of collective epistemic reflexivity (Kinsella & Whiteford, 2009) that engages a breadth of perspectives on this topic.

Key words: Social Research; Philosophy; Theory; Occupational Science; Research Design

 
Oct 17th, 4:55 PM Oct 17th, 5:25 PM

Social Research in Occupational Science: Theory and Philosophy in Research Design

Soo Line

Background and Rationale:

There have been increasing calls for socially oriented research in occupational science (Kinsella, 2012). Many interpretive and critical approaches to research draw on prominent social science thinkers and weave theoretical and philosophical lenses into the research design (Crotty, 2003). An understanding of such underpinnings and how they might shape research practice is important for advancing the quality of scholarship in occupational science.

Objective & Approach:

This paper considers the question: What is the role of theory and philosophy in the design of research in occupational science. The authors consider broad schools of social science theory and philosophy with relevance to occupational science; apply a framework developed by Crotty (2003) to examine the relationship of epistemological, theoretical and philosophical perspectives, to methodology, methods and research designs to two exemplars of theoretically and philosophically informed occupational science doctoral research. Insights with respect to building a rigorous socially informed occupational science research project are considered. The presenters plan to engage the audience in an activity to foster reflexivity about their own research designs.

Implications & Conclusions:

The authors contend that attention to philosophy and theory is crucial to the design of coherent and rigorous social research in occupational science, and that attention to such dimensions has much to offer research in occupational science. This paper contributes to knowledge with respect to how some researchers are interpreting and taking up this charge within the field of occupational science, and has implications for other researchers seeking to build theoretically and philosophically robust research. The authors intend to facilitate a dialogue with the occupational scientists in attendance with respect to their perspectives on theory and philosophy in occupational science research, as a form of collective epistemic reflexivity (Kinsella & Whiteford, 2009) that engages a breadth of perspectives on this topic.

Key words: Social Research; Philosophy; Theory; Occupational Science; Research Design