Differing Methodological Perspectives in Artificial Intelligence Research
A variety of proposals for preferred methodological approaches has been advanced in the recent artificial intelligence (AI) literature. Rather than advocating a particular approach, this article attempts to explain the apparent confusion of efforts in the field in terms of differences among underlying methodological perspectives held by practicing researchers. The article presents a review of such perspectives discussed in the existing literature and then considers a descriptive and relatively specific typology of these differing research perspectives. It is argued that researchers should make their methodological orientations explicit when communicating research results, to increase both the quality of research reports and their comprehensibility for other participants in the field. For a reader of the AI literature, an understanding of the various methodological perspectives will be of immediate benefit, giving a framework for understanding and evaluating research reports. In addition, explicit attention to methodological commitments might be a step towards providing a coherent intellectual structure that can be more easily assimilated by newcomers to the field.
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