Handbook of Research Methods for Tourism and Hospitality Management
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Handbook of Research Methods for Tourism and Hospitality Management

Edited by Robin Nunkoo

As research in tourism and hospitality reaches maturity, a growing number of methodological approaches are being utilized and, in addition, this knowledge is dispersed across a wide range of journals. Consequently there is a broad and multidisciplinary community of tourism and hospitality researchers whom, at present, need to look widely for support on methods. In this volume, researchers fulfil a pressing need by clearly presenting methodological issues within tourism and hospitality research alongside particular methods and share their experiences of what works, what does not work and where challenges and innovations lie.
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Chapter 2: Positivism: viewing tourism and hospitality knowledge objectively

Girish Prayag


The chapter reviews some of the key underlying assumptions of positivism. Researchers in the tourism field tend to argue that positivism is the dominant paradigm, but the voice of the interpretivist is getting louder. The notion of objectivity is critically discussed, with the conclusion that it is more appropriate in tourism research to refer to ‘objectivities’ and ‘subjectivities’. The chapter also outlines some of the major criticisms against positivistic research. However, by no means is the era of positivistic research in tourism over. In fact, with ‘big data’, the discipline is now moving into unchartered territory, and as some researchers have argued, there is little justification for tourism researchers to join the anti-positivism fraction at this time. Tourism research has yet to reach the high degree of ‘formalization’ and ‘technicalization’ as in other fields.

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