Phd Education /research Class – Coursework Example
Creswell calls ‘paradigm’ as the ‘worldview’ meaning “a basic set of beliefs that guide action” (Guba, 1990 cited in Creswell, 2009, p. 6). A research paradigm, therefore, refers to the beliefs of the researcher about the nature of reality and nature of knowledge that underpin the research. In this sense, research paradigm is a broader term that comprises of both the ontological and epistemological views underpinning any research. Such inherent assumptions guide any research and the methods and methodology of a research are based on these assumptions. It is important for researchers to know the significance of paradigm, ontology and epistemology as they form the philosophical and theoretical basis of their research.
Ontology and epistemology are the philosophical assumptions about reality and knowledge respectively. Ontology refers to “the nature of reality” being studied in a research (Creswell, 2009, p. 21; Laureate Education, 2009). It is important for a researcher to have a clear idea about what constitutes reality according to him/her. They need to take a position in order to answer what it is that they are studying? Epistemology is the philosophical assumptions about what knowledge is and refers to “the study of knowledge” (media) and “how we know what we know” (Creswell, 2009, p.21; Laureate Education, 2009). Epistemology is also about scope of knowledge and is related to questions such as ‘how do we know what is true/real’, and ‘how can we determine whether something is true or false’, and ‘how to keep personal bias out of the picture’ (Laureate Education, 2009). Based on the epistemological view, any researcher can decide the sources of knowledge and their credibility. To differentiate these two terms, ontology would be the belief about what is true, while epistemology would be about the method(s) to find out the truth.
Philosophy of science concerns with the key question, ‘what is science?’ This also means answering what is not science. It is a set of assumptions and beliefs about the nature and purpose of science. It theorises science and defines scientific body of knowledge (Reynolds, 2007). While theorising what science is and what is not, philosophy of science inherently makes ontological and epistemological assumptions about the nature and credibility of reality that can be called science and cannot be called science and the process by which they can be found out to be so. It is essential for a researcher to know what philosophy of science is in order to theorise what is science according to their research and to frame the methodology for their research as well choose the methods.
Creswell, J. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Introduction to research design. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Reynolds, P. D. (2007). A primer in theory construction (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Boston: Pearson Education.