Interpretivism 150x150 Interpretivism Interpretivism, as the name implies, involves researchers to interpret elements of the study, thus interpretivism integrates human interest into a study. Accordingly, “interpretive researchers assume that access to reality (given or socially constructed) is only through social constructions such as language, consciousness, shared meanings, and instruments” (Myers, 2008, p.38)

Interpretivism is “associated with the philosophical position of idealism, and is used to group together diverse approaches, including social constructionism, phenomenology and hermeneutics; approaches that reject the objectivist view that meaning resides within the world independently of consciousness” (Collins, 2010, p.38). Moreover, interpretivism studies usually focus on meaning and may employ multiple methods in order to reflect different aspects of the issue.

The basic differences between positivism and interpretivism are illustrated by Pizam and Mansfeld (2009) in the following manner:

Assumptions Positivism Interpretivism
Nature of reality Objective, tangible, single Socially constructed, multiple
Goal of research Explanation, strong prediction Understanding, weak prediction
Focus of interest What is general, average and representative What is specific, unique, and deviant
Knowledge generated Laws

Absolute (time, context, and value free)


Relative (time, context, culture, value bound)

Subject/Researcher relationship Rigid separation Interactive, cooperative, participative
Desired information How many people think and do a specific thing, or have a specific problem What some people think and do, what kind of problems they are confronted with, and how they deal with them


Collins, H. (2010) “Creative Research: The Theory and Practice of Research for the Creative Industries” AVA Publications

Myers, M.D. (2008) “Qualitative Research in Business & Management” SAGE Publications

Pizam, A. & Mansfield, Y. (1999) “Consumer Behaviour in Travel and Tourism” Routledg