This paper considers the implications of claiming allegiance to the naturalistic research paradigm. It suggests that the two paradigms that presently dominate research into physical education are separate and distinct, with attempts to bring them together in a “marriage of convenience” being misguided. Claims for compatibility are focused upon in order to highlight the prevailing confusion between philosophical and technical issues in the research process which often leads to calls for methodological pluralism. These two issues are seen to be intimately linked in the production of a resonant research process that raises questions as to the appropriateness, and ability, of certain methodologies to properly reflect the epistemological framework in which they are embedded. The implications of such a linkage is explored, and naturalistic researchers are implored to reduce their parasitic reliance upon positivism by confronting the central dilemmas of engagement with their own antifoundational paradigm.
Request reprints from Andrew C. Sparkes, School of Education, Exeter University, Heavitree Road, Exeter, Devon, England, EX1 2LU.