constructivism v. postpositivism

[Note: Related issues are more extensively addressed in this later post on “Curriculum & the post-(cognitivist) synthesis”.]

Somebody reached this blog through a search for
“differences among constructivism and postpositivism in Foreign Language Research”.

I’m afraid that all they found from that search on this blog was The First Year Grad Student’s Dictionary of Educational Terms, which probably has each of those terms, but not what this blog reader was looking for.

I am very interested in the general question of constructivism v. postpositivism, however, and I have a paper coming out soon that the reader would be interested in, I think. It should be published sometime this spring, and the citation will be: Whitson, James Anthony. “Education à la Silhouette: The Need for Semiotically-Informed Curriculum Consciousness.Semiotica 164, no. 1/4 (2007): 235-329.

My paper is not concerned with Foreign Language Research, in particular, but it is centrally concerned with positivism and the fundamental (semiotic) basis of post- (in the sense of non-) positivism. In the course of my argument, I observe at a few points that “constructivism,” in some forms at least, can be fully positivistic. [Note: See Wikipedia for contrasting senses of “post-positivism”]

I have no idea who that blog visitor is; but if you post a comment to this item, the email address that you enter when you post the comment will appear in my own mailbox (and nobody else will see it), so that would be one way to find out more if you want to.



  1. Posted February 8, 2007 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    I have heard of “constructivism” but have never heard of “postpositivism.” Is ther a definition for “postpositivism?”

    • Ian McKay
      Posted December 2, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Dear Mr. Lu,

      I just stumbled across a February 2007 blog post of your on post-positvism and constructivism, which is just what I’m trying to research. I’m doing a research project that uses a post-positivist methodology (a psychometric instrument, survey like) to measure a how participants perceive cultural difference, which is usually interpreted through a constructivist lens. I’m having a hard time reconciling to the two approaches, and was wondering if you might have any advice?


      Ian McKay

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