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Appropriate Research Methods

3. Different Methods

Even though thinking in terms of dualities or binary opposites may itself be a consequential limitation of the prevailing paradigm, we combine these dimensions in a conventional 2 x 2 array to derive the typology depicted in Figure 1; simply a conceptual device to permit identification of general categories or classes of phenomena (or “ideal types”). This enables us to locate the origins of different behavioral and social science research methods in particular social philosophies and conceptions of health.

The goal is for discussion to advance from disparaging evaluations of the advantages and disadvantages of different research methods, or from futile discussion of "the best" approach, to appreciation of the underlying philosophies and views of health which manifest themselves in everyday health activities and their measurement. 

Figure 1

Figure depicting the typology of social philosophies and conceptions of health as described in the text.