Pragmatism – A Research Approach/Framework for the 21st Century

A Webinar

Presented by: Professor Dan Remenyi

Tuesday 07 April 2022

What this webinar is about

To be awarded a doctorate the student must demonstrate that he or she has added something of value to add to the body of knowledge. This is achieved by postulating a theoretical conjecture, which is more easily said than done, and doctoral candidates often struggle with this.

Understanding Pragmatism which is a philosophical framework developed by American philosophers towards the end of the 19th century is helpful in this respect.

It is sometimes incorrectly stated that being a practitioner of Pragmatism means being pragmatic. This is completely untrue. Pragmatism is a philosophy stance which can be used as a framework to get better results from academic research. It is one of the useful ways of understanding what academic researchers want to achieve and it provides them with a benchmark to decide how well they have done. In fact, it is true to say that there are few things more important than being able to assess when your research is ready for examination.

Webinar outline

What is Pragmatism?

  • A world view which underpins much of qualitative research
  • Pragmatism is easily confused with being pragmatic and it has nothing to do with it.
  • A 19th century philosophical stance pioneered by Peirce, James and Dewey
  • The pragmatist maxim “What is the end result?”; Knowledge as a strategy or a tool; A fallibilist view of knowledge

The essence of Pragmatism philosophy is pure Americana and expressed as an opponent of classic European traditionalism

  • Is truth an issue to spend time on? Is certainty possible?
  • Is there only one understanding of this? Clearly not but then what happens?
  • Certainty versus risk
  • Inferential knowledge. The chain of inference
  • Practical Relevance
  • Achievement of results
  • Meaning is to be understood through action

The logic driving Pragmatism

  • Abduction or analytical deduction
  • Findings, conclusions, suggestions

Data and the Pragmatist

  • World of facts and world of values
  • Are facts and values inseparable?

 The social implications of pragmatism

  • Social action is where we find meaning
  • Research is quintessentially social

Pragmatism consumed by the giants

  • Neo-pragmatism, Richard Rorty etc.
  • Rhetoric and debate


  • Is the concept of pragmatism time bound?
  • What if it stops working?

Evaluating your research

  • Different approaches to evaluation
  • Has the research question been answered?
  • What is the theoretical conjecture?
  • Where is the value of the research?

The webinar will be held on Thursday 7th April 2022, and it will run to GMT +1 time using Zoom. The Zoom Room will open at 1:45 pm (GMT +1) and the event will begin at 2:00 pm and will finish at 4:00 pm (GMT +1).

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For further information please click here: Pragmatism A Research Approach/Framework for the 21st Century