Community Research within a Social Constructionist Epistemology: Implications for ‘Scientific Rigour’

Jennifer Phillimore, Wally Karnilowicz, Lutfiye Ali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Evaluation research continues to be dominated by the positivist paradigm and a commitment to factual and value free research. Policy makers and associated evaluators, in particular, consistently approach program evaluation from a positivist perspective in which methodological rigor is assessed through their interpretation of valid and generalizable results. More recently, mixed-method approaches have been adopted with qualitative methods used in combination with quantitative. However, the exclusive use of qualitative methods is less regular. With a focus on social justice shifting from the margins to the center of evaluation research, there is a call for qualitative study and participatory evaluation where planning and evaluation are not predetermined and instead embrace the voices of stakeholders and participants. This has coincided with the emergence of various methods and branches of evaluation research including empowerment research evaluation, collaborative research, and community participatory research. This paper advocates a constructionist approach in community engaged research as an appropriate and necessary approach within increasingly culturally diverse societies in Australia and the United Kingdom.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-367
JournalCommunity Development Journal
Issue number4
Early online date10 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • evaluation
  • immigration
  • Research Methods


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