Edited by Robin Nunkoo
Chapter 2: Positivism: viewing tourism and hospitality knowledge objectively
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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