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Engaging with postgraduate research: education, childhood & youth
Engaging with postgraduate research: education, childhood & youth

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3.4 Interpretivism

The conflict between positivism and interpretivism dates from at least the middle of the nineteenth century, although it emerged within the field of educational research and in childhood and youth studies during the second half of the twentieth century.

Three people looking at the art on the walls in an art gallery.
Figure 8 Different people will have different responses to and take away different meaning from the same pieces of art

Interpretivism’s starting point is its insistence on differentiating between the nature of the phenomena investigated by the natural sciences and the nature of those studied by historians, social scientists, childhood and youth and educational researchers. In the next section you’ll look at some of the features of interpretivism.