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Since the publication of Thomas Kuhn's (1962) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, a paradigm has been considered a conglomeration of concepts, theories and methods that guide research and become dominant during particular historical epochs and/or within particular disciplines.

Rohmann highlights this dominant character by explaining that a paradigm ''tends to become ingrained, influencing the very choice of questions deemed worthy of study, the methods used to study those questions, and the interpretations of the results.''

As unified and dominant worldviews that imply particular concerns and preferences related to ontology, epistemology and methodology, paradigms have been described as in competition with one another.

Paradigms need not be viewed as so homogenizing, however. Instead, some researchers encourage the choice of paradigm based on its fit with the particular phenomenon under investigation.