n Health SA Gesondheid - Evaluation of arguments in research reports : overview

Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1025-9848
  • E-ISSN: 2071-9736



Some authors on research methodology are of the opinion that research reports are based on the logic of reasoning and that such reports communicate with the reader by advancing logical, coherent arguments (Bvhme, 1975:206; Mouton, 1996:69). This view implies that researchers draw certain conclusions and that such conclusions be justified by means of reasoning (Doppelt, 1988:105; Giere, 1984:26; Harre, 1965:11; Lehrer & Wagner: 1981:3; Pitt, 1988:7). The structure of research reports, therefore, consists mainly of conclusions and the reasons for such conclusions (Booth, Colomb & Williams, 1995:97). From this, it becomes clear that justification by means of reasoning constitutes a standard procedure in research and research reports. Despite the fact that the logic of research is based on reasoning, that the justification of research findings by means of reasoning appears to be a standard procedure and that the structure of research reports consists of arguments, the evaluation or assessment of research, as described in most textbooks on research methodology (Barns & Grove, 1993:647; Creswell, 1994:193; LoBiondo-Wood & Habel; 1994:441/481), does not focus on the arguments used in research. The criteria for evaluation set out in these textbooks, however, have relevance to the manner in which the research process was executed and focus on the measures taken to ensure internal, external, theoretical, measurement and inferential validity. This means that the criteria for the evaluation of research reports are comprehensive and that these criteria must be very specific for each type of research for example, qualitative or quantitative research). Should the evaluation of research reports focus on arguments and logic, one universal set of standards against which to assess all types of human-science research reports could possibly be accepted. Such universal set of standards could possibly simplify and facilitate the evaluation of research reports in the human sciences by virtue of the fact that such standards could be used to assess all the critical aspects of research reports.

Sommige skrywers oor navorsingsmetodologie is van mening dat navorsingsverslae op die logika van argumentasie berus en dat somige verslae met die leser kommunikeer deur logiese, samehangende argumente aan te voer (Buhme, 1975:206; Mouton, 1996:69). Hierdie beskouing impliseer dat novorsers bepaalde gevolgtrekkings aflei en dan sodanige gevolgtrekkings by wyse van argumentasie gestaaf word (Doppelt, 1988:105; Giere, 1984:26; Harre, 1965:11; Lehrer & Wagner: 1981:3; Pitt, 1988:7). Die struktuur van navorsingsverslae bestaan dus hoojsaaklik uit gevolgtrekkings en redes vir sommige gevolgtrekkings (Booth, Colomb & Williams, 1995:97). Hieruit blyk dat stawing by wyse van argumentasie 'n standard prosedure in navorsirig en navorsingsverslae. Ten spyte daarvan dat die logika van navorsing op argumentasie berus, dat die stawing van navorsingsuitsprake by wyse van argumentasie 'n standaardprosedure blyk te wees en dat die struktuur van navorsingsverslae uit argumente bestaan, fokus die evaluering of beoordeling van navorsing, soos in die meeste navorsingsmetodologie-handboeke beskryf (Burns & Grove, 1993:647; Cresrvell, 1994:193; LoBiondo-Wood & Habel: 1994:441/481), nie op die argumente van navorsing nie. Die evalueringskriteria vir navorsingsverslae, wat in hierdie handboeke gestel is, hou egter verband met die wyse waarop die navorsingsproses uitgevoer is en fokus op die maatreëls wat getref is om interne, eksterne, teoretiese, metings- en inferensiële geldigheid te verseker.

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