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Epistemology and Metaphysics for Qualitative Research

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This clearly written and provocative text outlines the wide range of epistemological and metaphysical pillars of research.

In a clear, easy to follow style, the reader is guided through an array of concepts that are defined, explained and made simple. With the aid of helpful examples and case studies, the book challenges the prevailing modes of thinking about qualitative inquiry by showcasing an immense variety of philosophical frameworks. Armed with a strong understanding of this philosophical backbone, students will be able to choose and defend a ‘pick and mix’ of research methods that will uniquely complement their research.

  • Empiricism

  • Rationalism

  • Realism

  • Skepticism

  • Idealism

  • Positivism

  • Post-positivism

  • Idea-ism

  • Hermeneutics

  • Phenomenology

  • Social Ontology

  • Quantum Mechanics 


Essential reading for new and experienced researchers, this ‘must’ for any social science bookshelf will help unlock a new level of research creativity.


An astonishing contribution! Pernecky’s lucid, engaging treatment of this complex subject matter renders centuries of challenging philosophical argumentation accessible and valuable to students and seasoned qualitative researchers alike. This is a work that will explode stereotypes and make you rethink the paradigms you thought you knew. 


Kellee Caton

Professor, Thompson Rivers University


A highly relevant book that underlines how epistemology, philosophy and metaphysics work at the heart of research processes. In a post-paradigmatic perspective, it places a salutary emphasis on the diversity of ideas, theories and schools of thought which encourages academic freedom, creativity and interdisciplinary openness.

Frédéric Darbellay

Head of Inter- and Transdisciplinarity Unit, University of Geneva

​I have searched for years for the “perfect” book for my PhD-level Philosophy of Science course and I have now found it. Pernecky presents a cogent and clear understanding of the Philosophy of Science, equally accessible to undergraduate and graduate students. Written from a lens of qualitative research, the text provides an objective and dispassionate treatment of competing streams of thought converging to inform qualitative data analysis; in doing so it also gives a clear understanding of positivism, rationalism, and other modes of thought characterizing the methodological debate between qualitative ad quantitative orientations. The book will give students and academics alike an appreciation for competing orientations reflecting the underlying metatheoretical assumptions informing the construction of knowledge, whether qualitative, quantitative, or theoretical.

​Ross Klein

​Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research, School of Social Work, Memorial University of Newfoundland

​This is an enormously important work. Qualitative inquiry is burgeoning throughout the social sciences, and with significant challenge to the logical empiricist orientation that has long dominated the sciences. Yet, while a challenge to tradition, there are scant resources for deliberating on differences and direction. Tomas Pernecky's work is a sophisticated, readable, and comprehensive gift of just these resources. It is more: in the helter-skelter demand for producing publishable research, the social sciences have lost capacity for self-understanding. This is a must-read volume for all  thoughtful researchers - qualitative and otherwise - who might wish to grasp the broader context and significance of their efforts. 

Kenneth J. Gergen

Senior Research Professor, Swarthmore College

Postdisciplinary Knowledge

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Postdisciplinary Knowledge is the first book to articulate postdisciplinarity in philosophical, theoretical and methodological terms, helping to establish it as an important intellectual movement of the twenty-first century. It formulates what postdisciplinarity is, and how it can be implemented in research practice.
The diverse chapters present a rich collection of highly creative thought-provoking essays and methodological insights. Written by a number of pioneering intellectuals with a range of backgrounds and research foci, these chapters cover a broad spectrum of areas demonstrating alternative ways of producing knowledge. Essays are interspersed with dialogue, encouraging a comprehensive and engaging discussion on this emerging movement.
Not limited to a specific field or discipline, this will be of great interest to upper-level students and researchers in a wide range of subject areas, including: tourism, sociology, education, psychology, physiotherapy, fine arts, architecture and design, as well as those with a general interest in epistemology and methodology.

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