Types Based on Historical Age

If we consider the history of research we shall find that the research method varies with the change of historical age.

1. Research Based on Question-Answer:

During the period of Sophists and Socrates in ancient Greece, dialectic method (question answer) was used in research. During that period the real aim of research was to demonstrate philosophical problems. Since this method was mostly used to refute others, and impose owes own thought on others, it was not the research in real sense.


2. Research Based on introspection:

Until the sixteenth century, human inquiry was primarily based on introspection. The way to know things was to turn inward and use logic to seek the truth. This paradigm has endured for a millennium and was a well-established conceptual framework for understanding the world. The seeker of knowledge was an integral part of the inquiry process.

3. Scientific Research:

A profound change occurred during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, Bacon, Newton, and Locke presented new ways of examining nature. Our method of understanding the world came to rely on measurement and quantification. Mathematics replaced introspection as the key to supreme truths. The Scientific Revolution was born.


Scientific research methodology was very successful at explaining natural phenomena. It provided a systematic way of knowing. Western philosophers embraced this new structure of inquiry. Eastern philosophy continued to stress the importance of the one seeking knowledge. By the beginning of the twentieth century, a complete schism had occurred. Western and Eastern philosophies were mutually exclusive and incompatible.

4. Social Science Research Model:

Then something remarkable happened. Einstein’s proposed that the observer was not separate from the phenomena being studied. Indeed, his theory of relativity actually stressed the role of the observer. Quantum mechanics carried this step further and stated that the act of observation could change the thing being observed. The researcher was not simply an observer, but in fact, was an integral part of the process.

In physics, Western and Eastern philosophies have met. This idea has not been incorporated into the standard social science research model, and today’s social science community see themselves as objective observers of the phenomena being studied.