Objectivity, subjectivity and competing models of research

David R. Hall

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


    The classical “objective” style of academic writing, with its characteristic features of nominalization and the use of so-called agentless passives, is still dominant in most disciplines. The style is prized because it seeks to bestow on the researcher the aura of a disinterested investigator on a quest for “the truth”. In more recent years, however, we have increasingly seen departures from both the style and the positioning of the researcher as an impartial observer. In this paper, I look at issues of objectivity and subjectivity in research work, arguing that all research is subjective, no matter what research paradigm and measurement instruments are used. Although there are many competing research paradigms, and much of the academy appears to thrive on such competition, I argue that there is no necessity for different approaches to be opposing approaches. I also talk about the destructive phenomenon of “paradigm blinkers” or the inability to see beyond the parameters of a paradigm that rarely questions its own shared assumptions and that treats all other paradigms as worthy only of contempt and summary dismissal.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Conference
    Subtitle of host publicationDoing Research in Applied Linguistics
    PublisherKing Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi and Macquarie University
    Number of pages6
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    EventDoing Research in Applied Linguistics - Bangkok, Thailand
    Duration: 21 Apr 201122 Apr 2011


    ConferenceDoing Research in Applied Linguistics
    CityBangkok, Thailand


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