Posted in Notes for Class

Difficult Concepts

What is Ontology? How is it relevant to research?

Ontology noun – :  The branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being. A set of concept and categories in a subject area or domain that shows their properties and the relations between them. 

“Ontology can be defined as ‘the science or study of being’ and it deals with the nature of reality. Ontology is a system of belief that reflects an interpretation of an individual about what constitutes a fact. In simple terms, ontology is associated with a central question of whether social entities need to be perceived as objective or subjective.” – Source

What is Epistemology? How is it relevant to research?

Epistemology noun – the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope, and the distinction between justified belief and opinion.

“Research is only one of several ways of ‘knowing’. The branch of philosophy that deals with this subject is called Epistemology. Epidemiologists generally recognize at least four different sources of knowledge:

  • Intuitive Knowledge – takes forms such as belief, faith, intuition, etc. It is based on feelings rather than hard, cold “facts”.
  • Authoritative Knowledge – is based on information received from people, books, a supreme being, etc. Its strength depends on the strength of these sources.
  • Logical Knowledge – is arrived at by reasoning from “point A” (which is generally accepted) to “point B” (the new knowledge).
  • Empirical Knowledge – is based on demonstrable, objective facts (which are determined through observation and/or experimentation).

Research often makes use of all four of these ways of knowing:

  • Intuitive (when coming up with an initial idea for research)
  • Authoritative (when reviewing the professional literature)
  • Logical (when reasoning from findings to conclusions)
  • Empirical (when engaging in procedures that lead to these findings)” – Source

What is the connection between ontology and epistemology in a research context?

“Ontology and epistemology are two different ways of viewing the research philosophy” – source

“Research philosophy deals with the source, nature, and development of knowledge. Although the idea of knowledge creation may appear to be profound, you are engaged in knowledge creation as part of completing your dissertation (( aka our projects)). You will collect secondary and primary data and engage in data analysis to answer the research question and this answer marks the creation of new knowledge.” – Source


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