Constructivism - Researcher Education Programme

Constructivist Research Paradigm
Constructivism does not accept “reality-as-it-is-in-itself”.
1. The basic ontological assumption of constructivism is “relativism” - human
sense-making organizes experience so as to render it into apparently
comprehensible, understandable, and explainable form, independent of any
foundational reality.
There can be no objective “truth”.
Constructivists believe there is no way to confirm one way or another that something
is “real” since the goal of inquiry (“reality”) must be assumed to be understood at the
One must already have “reality” in mind—that is, one must already know what
“reality” consists of—in order to confirm when one has found it.
2. The basic epistemological assumption of constructivism is “transactional
subjectivism” - assertions about “reality” and “truth” depend solely on the meaning
sets available to the individuals engaged in forming those assertions.
“Reality” is constructed through social relationships and interactions; it is subjective,
multiple, relative.
Researchers interact with the research subjects; findings are "co-created" as
research proceeds.
Constructions are not more “true” or less "true," only more or less informed.
3. The basic methodological assumption of constructivism is “dialecticism” in that
constructions entertained by the involved individuals and groups (stakeholders) are
first uncovered and plumbed for meaning and then confronted, compared, and
contrasted in encounter situations.
There is no single valid methodology, rather a diversity of useful methods.
Inquiry is value-bound; values are inherent in the context of the study; the
researcher's values affect the study.
The aim of inquiry in constructivism is understanding and reconstructing the
constructions or meanings that both the researcher and those being researched hold
- this process aims at consensus (shared understanding), while remaining open to
new interpretation.
The researcher plays the role of participant and facilitator.