Human beings cannot be studied using models developed
for the physical sciences because humans are qualitatively different from
natural events. The interpretative paradigm supports the belief that reality
is constructed by subjective perception and predictions cannot be made.
Researchers who agree with this paradigm are interested in the social
construction of meaning. People have free will, purposes, goals, and
intentions, so people should be studied as active agents.
"The basic premises are:
-People make decisions and act in accordance with
their subjective understandings of the situations in which they find
-Social life consists of interaction processes rather
than structures and is therefore constantly changing.
-People understand their experience through the
meanings found in the symbols of their primary groups, and language is an
essential part of social life.
-The world is made up of social objects that are
named and have socially determined meanings.
-People’s actions are based on their interpretations,
in which the relevant objects and actions in the situation are taken into
account and defined.
-One’s self is a significant object and like all the
social objects is defined through social interaction with others" (
Littlejohn, S. (2000). Theories of Human Communication. Belmont,