‘Paradigm’ is a very formal, academic word for a general framework of ideas or way of thinking about a topic. Subjects at university have different ways they can be approached. Often, there’s one ‘dominant’ paradigm, which is how most researchers approach a topic, and a number of alternative paradigms, which are used by a smaller group of researchers. For example, 50 or so years ago, behaviourism was the dominant paradigm in psychology. This mean that most researchers, even if they were looking at different questions and using different techniques, followed the same basic way of looking at the mind and how it learns and responds to the environment. However, especially during the 1960’s, these basic ideas were questioned, so there was a ‘paradigm shift’ in which the whole subject of psychology went through a kind of revolution and no longer had one dominant paradigm.
His research was outside the established paradigm, which meant that it was difficult to attract funding.