Take the quiz to test your understanding of the key concepts covered in the chapter. Try testing yourself before you read the chapter to see where your strengths and weaknesses are, then test yourself again once you’ve read the chapter to see how well you’ve understood.

1. Identify five potential sources of nursing and midwifery knowledge.


Tradition, personal knowledge/experience, intuition, other disciplines, research.

2. Define research paradigm.


A framework that encompasses ideas and beliefs about reality, the ways in which knowledge is acquired and the way in which research should be carried out.

3. Define the research paradigm of positivism.


A school of thought which advocates that reality is objective and measurable.

4. Define the research paradigm of interpretivism.


A school of thought which believes that reality is subjective and that there is no universal truth. 

5.By what other name is interpretivism sometimes known?


Naturalism or constructivism.

6. Define the research paradigm of pragmatism. 

Answer :

A school of thought which takes a practical approach to research advocating the use of mixed methods.

7. In addition to positivism, interpretivism and pragmatism, name other research paradigms.


Feminism, post-positivism.

8. Which paradigm dominated health care research during the first half of the twentieth century?



9. Define ontology.


Beliefs about the nature of being and the characteristics of reality.

10. Define epistemology.


Beliefs about the nature of knowledge and how knowledge is acquired.

11. Match the following ontological statements and research paradigms:

One singular reality, controlled by universal laws which apply irrespective of time and place. Reality is not haphazard. Reality is objective.

Answer: Positivism

Multiple realities in which individuals construct their own understanding so there are many different interpretations. There is no universal truth. Reality is subjective. 

Answer: Interpretivism. 

Varying points of view about reality, it can therefore be regarded as being singular or multiple. 

Answer: Pragmatism.

12. Match the following epistemological statements and research paradigms:

Knowledge is generated through shared understanding between individuals. The researcher’s beliefs will influence the research. The researcher is ‘inside’ the research

Answer: Interpretivism. 

The generation of knowledge is not influenced by the researcher. The researcher can therefore be independent, objective and value free. The researcher is ‘outside’ the research

Answer: Positivism. 

Knowledge can be generated both objectively and subjectively. 

Answer: Pragmatism.