I have come to the realization that perhaps I am worrying too much about a "Grand Paradigm" at this point in the course and my research. I have been reading Anfara and Mertz's Theoretical Frameworks in Qualitative Research by Sage Publications (2006). They state that theoretical frameworks can be found at three levels: grand, mid-range and explanatory (p. xxvii) and that can be applied to understanding phenomena. For some reason this gave me a bit of an "ah-ha" moment because I started thinking that there may be other frameworks we can use that are not tied expressly to the four super-structure (am I using that word correctly?) paradigms we are studying now. Many of the studies that are mentioned in the book resulted in articles, not doctoral theses, but they do discuss a variety of frameworks like Chaos and Complexity Theory and Liminality Theory for example.
So this got me thinking about how students have done theses on Dr. Michael Moore's "theory of transactional distance" and Dr. Randy Garrison's (et al) "Community of Inquiry" model. So ultimately, while we have to know the different streams of the paradigms, I am coming to understand that I can relax to some degree about slotting myself into one of the four dominant paradigms we are learning about. There are a plethora of theories out there from the social-sciences at different levels that may be useful to us as we narrow down our research topics. My understanding has changed now to the point where I will find a framework suited to my area of interest and not worry so much about which methods to use or which paradigm it is located in.