This article aims to provide a conceptual and theoretical analysis of
the main theoretical and philosophical perspectives in social science
research for researchers doing research in the disciplinary fields of public
administration, management and governance. The purpose is to provide
clarity for researchers’ own beliefs of how social reality should be viewed
to gain the most truthful results and thus, to develop their own ontology.
This will enable researchers to have a clear understanding of which
research perspective would be appropriate when designing their research
in order to develop their own epistemology.
The article attempts to clarify what research is and more specifically
the relationship between research theories and the empirical world.
The conditions necessary for scientific research and the most important
concepts (building blocks) of social science research are explained.
The difference between ordinary everyday knowledge and information,
social science theory, scientific knowledge and the use of the scientific method receive attention. The dimensions of social science research
are distinguished in terms of the sociological, teleological, ontological, methodological and axiological dimensions as well as on the disciplinary,
practical and project levels. The importance of systematic data gathering
by meeting specific criteria of the scientific method is emphasised. The
keys necessary to unlock the scientific world and to gain an understanding
of the importance of scientific knowledge and reasoning as opposed to
how knowledge and information are commonly used, is presented.