That is why there is a break with previous ontological proposals regarding that identity, especially, regarding those relying on the Epistemology of the Knowing Subject. The question of who is known is here prior to the question on how it is known. Given that the person is at the core of qualitative research, and that what is turned into who , it is necessary to point out once more that that who is, for the Epistemology of the Known Subject, essentially the same although existentially different from the researcher, because the basic principle of essential equality is the foundation of that epistemology.
That surrounding world, constantly seen as the background, the arena, the permanent basis for researchers' subjective mental work, is precisely what enables them to become a topic of reflection HUSSERL, , pp. By means of the Epistemology of the Known Subject, I hereby put forward renewed ontological and epistemological foundations for qualitative research, since the ontological proposal of such epistemology is grounded in a different conception of identity.
Such conception reaches out to the various subjects that participate in cognitive interaction. Neither does it attempt to account for the multiple constructions produced in relation to this reality.
Those questions are answered in different ways by the paradigms I spoke of in second section dealing with epistemological reflection and its objectives. It could also be argued that it is the interpretive paradigm that adequately answers, in particular but not exclusively, the requirements of the secondary characteristics of qualitative research, that is, those focusing on the study of contexts and social situations.
To that effect, this paradigm leaves out the model of natural sciences, and gives an account of the constructed feature of meanings, norms, orientations, production, and reproduction of the social world through social practices, among which language is to be found. The interpretive paradigm is, then, the foundation of qualitative research within the Epistemology of the Knowing Subject. In keeping with that kind of epistemology, the approach to the known subject is mediated, in general, by a veil woven from theoretical representations of that "other" in the various disciplines, and in relation to the current paradigmatic trends which, more often than not, coexist in the various contexts and moments in which knowledge production operates.
In this way, while studies based on this epistemology, that is, on the different paradigms that operate in social sciences, were interested in marking the differences between individuals and groups by classifying and ranking them according to those concurrent differences, the Epistemology of the Known Subject understands that those differences make up exclusively the existential aspect of identity and that singling them out must, inevitably, be accompanied by the indication of the essential, common aspect of that identity 2.
Acceptance of the principle of essential equality is a necessary condition for cognitive interaction to take place in the research process, and without that interaction cooperative knowledge construction cannot occur. The path of epistemological reflection leads us, in this way, first from the object to the subject and then from the different subject to the same, but different subject or, what amount to the same, from the existential component to the two components of identity.
In other words, it leads us from the Epistemology of the Knowing Subject to the Epistemology of the Known Subject and from the latter to meta-epistemology, because both identity components must be known without either of them being left out.
For the Epistemology of the Known Subject the relationship between this subject and the knowing person is egalitarian. This statement represents a challenge to the traditional ways of knowing since for them knowers know insofar as they apply the rules, notions and strategies of the so called "scientific knowledge.
If this is so, how can the participant actors prevent his identity from being denied, distorted, or ignored? The danger of such technical versions is that they may, inadvertently, reinforce and uphold some actors' world views and overshadow others'.
In this fashion, social researchers have to consider the consequences that their theoretical background, which take certain descriptive social categories for granted, may bring about. Thus, from the perspective of the Epistemology of the Known Subject, questions such as the following could be asked: Likewise, accepting the current value of certain theories that "'establish' the relevance of class, gender, race, etc.
So, names construct and reify human bonds and social divisions, are rooted in actions and give rise to specific practices CHARMAZ, , p. So, it is necessary to ask oneself how stereotypes constructed around the research participant actors influence their identity, their capacity for action and decision. These stereotypes are constructed following scientific knowledge instructions that lead into grouping the similar within the different and into categorizing, then ranking, assessing those differences in relation to an order which is, later on, reproduced in daily interaction.
A serious reflection on such aspects enables the avoidance of the ontological distortion of those actors' identity. Consequently, people who carry out an inquiry in which some "other" participates will have to question themselves on who they want to know, what they think they know about that person, on the origin of that knowledge— for instance, academic, experiential, the mass media—and, very particularly, on the place, the value, and the relevance they will assign to the knowledge with which that person provides them.
Given the egalitarian relationship between the knower and the known, the new ways of knowing proposed by the Epistemology of the Known Subject are not those characteristic of the knowing subject, but of both subjects in cognitive interaction.
Because the common identity component determines that those two subjects have the same capacity for knowing, it is the knowledge arising from that shared capacity that acquires pre-eminence. There will be specific, technical, particular knowledge some may be lacking in, but there is, besides, knowledge shared by everyone alike.
For example, that which enables people to know they are equal in essential identity to other people and, therefore, in dignity, or that constitutes grounds for people's reluctance to let their identity be distorted. Were this not so, the unfairness deriving from disregarding that equality could hardly be recognized. What brings the knowing and the known subjects together in cognitive interaction, in which they are identical, is what makes communication possible.
It is the contact with "others," sharing their time, situations, relationships, hopes, achievements, and misfortunes that makes us modify our ways of knowing. But especially, what changes them is attentive listening in the certainty that what is conveyed to us as their truths are no less important than ours. Only the mark of humility in dialogue that heeds "affinities or similarities, as well as alterity or differences" SAUKKO, , p. If the researcher considers them different, belittled in their capacity and ways of knowing, he will not be able to find that he is identical to each one and in that identity, in that sameness, find himself.
So, new ways of knowing entail knowing through what is common in identity, through shared identity, through its essential component. On that account, ontological considerations come before epistemological and methodological ones. That is why we must deal with the question about who is known before the one about how it is known. That is why it is necessary to ask ourselves what identity of the known subjects is being assumed, what concepts they are being approached through and to what theories, set in which paradigms, those concepts belong.
It is not about simply establishing theory limits, what is to be considered is the being's unlimited nature shown in communication. Hence the openness of the listeners, of the receivers. Hence the need for acknowledgment of their own biases, their own deficiencies, but, at the same time, of that shared element which enables both to "understand each other. Knowing through theories may, therefore, jeopardize communication and the egalitarian relationship, because no hierarchy, rank, order, privilege, or subordination taken as true in these theories or outside their scope should mediate the link between the knower and the known.
Notions, concepts, and explanations provided by theories prove, many times, to be vacuous, hollow, inert, or dumb faced in respect of the utterances with which women and men narrate their existential vicissitudes and causally link different events, in turn creating theory themselves.
Qualitative research is nourished, mostly, by the different nature of the information provided by the people participating in the inquiry. Resorting to the knowledge of "others" and the validity of the collected data is usual practice in social sciences, whether taken, for example, from surveys or interviews.
This situation talks about a feature of the knowledge process which the Epistemology of the Known Subjects highlights: Knowledge that subjects know with and know "themselves" as equals in cognitive interaction with is not limited to the existential aspect of identity, nor to the human beings' work, relationships, expressions, or productions. Based on what people have in common, that is, on essential identity, this kind of knowledge empowers, makes human communication possible and this is the case because it expresses and interprets the two identity components at a time.
Consolidated ways of knowing, focusing on the subject that knows, have given priority to existential characteristics of identity, laying the stress on what is factual, observable, accessible to sensitive register and which has a validity that can be proved. However, what would be the sense of coming up to people with questions inquiring about what can be apprehended by simply resorting to observation?
What the Epistemology of the Known Subject is about, then, is recognizing the limitations of those traditional ways of knowing and showing the need for the open-mindedness of the researcher to the plenitude of what can be perceived in a different way. Communication between subjects of cognitive interaction is, thus, a suitable means to express the essential and existential components of identity, or what amounts to the same, to show, at the same time, what a person is equal to all the others in, that is, his "shared humanity" ANGEN, , p.
Facing a researcher is, then, not a different "other," but an equal "other," but also different from the ones who understand, for they share the same humanity. He is one and the same with him or with her, and in that being the same, all distance, hiatus, and separation, which, in a moment, were the conditions for the objectivity of knowledge are surmounted. If in such communication a researcher is not grounded in the essential dimension of identity, as is the case in the usual ways of knowing, he is bound to construct the human beings he interacts with according to the measure of observable objects and, although he may question them when external observation is not enough, he is also likely to register the differences rather than the common features that identify him with the others, since the difference is, in general, what he has become used to perceiving on approaching the "others.
Without the acceptance of the common component of identity, neither cognitive interaction nor cooperative knowledge construction will be possible, and hopes, needs, claims, questions and proposals of those "others" will hardly be understood.
Simply because, as is usual, their actions are not liable to interpretation through the common dignity bringing both subjects of cognitive interaction together, but through the alleged difference separating them. When those differences are not tolerated and are marked as significant where essential equality should have been stressed, that is, when those differences become essential, scientific knowledge appears to be contributing to the strengthening of discriminatory processes.
An example of this is when poverty is associated with crime, or unemployment to a lack of suitable capacity to meet market requirements, reproducing, in this way, the deterministic model of natural sciences and, consequently, taking for granted causal relationships prescribed by general laws that are supposed to enable prediction and phenomena control. Acknowledgment of the common-union of subjects of cognitive interaction characterizes the Epistemology of the Known Subject: In such interaction, as stated, two subjects, essentially equal, make different contributions derived from their same capacity of knowing and their own biography, circumstances, struggles and achievements of their own existence.
Validity of knowledge resulting from cooperative construction does not therefore match that of the so called scientific knowledge, because it is not its norms, rules, directions, and methods that must be applied, followed, and obeyed to enable that construction. The attained knowledge, being of a different nature, lies in a different legitimacy, a legitimacy conferring a scope, depth, development, magnitude of its own. That kind of knowledge, to be valid, must account for the two components of identity at the same time, that is, focusing on what is common to all, it must be able to display the differences without essentializing them and without turning them into the axis of cognitive interaction.
Such differences constitute nonessential features that do not represent people's integrity nor do they have any bearing on their dignity.
Would extolling the differences to the detriment of equality not enable those self-appointed "knowers" the use of an advantage given by those differences which, in part, they have contributed to consolidate? Likewise, does acknowledging the equal knowing capacity, common to all human beings, not jeopardize the foundation of the pedestal that so called "science" stands on?
However, does questioning that equal capacity for knowing not attack the validity of the produced knowledge as a consequence of resorting to the information "others" provide us with?
Why should we collect their stories? Why should we ask them about the meaning they assign to their actions?
Why should we appeal to them to understand the situations they live in, the processes they go through? On the other hand, even from the assumption of attempting theory creation, researchers frequently resort to the current theories of different disciplines, first to lead their research question and then to be assisted in data interpretation, or to show the pertinence of their findings.
This appeal to theories constitutes a threat for both cognitive interaction, as already stated, and for cooperative knowledge construction. So much so that, for example, if researchers assume social reality is subjected to some sort of normativity, of law and that, in consequence, the autonomous capacity of the person's will is constrained, determined, or conditioned, what value will they ascribe to the subjective meaning actors assign to their actions?
Will they consider that the actors' words will provide them with some knowledge they lack? Reflection on the answers to these questions enables a recognition of the obstacles researchers often, and even unintentionally, raise to cooperative knowledge construction. This cannot be attained while they believe that only some, and in particular theory creators, scientists, and philosophers, may understand the sense, the destiny of mankind in the world, and of the person in society.
For cognitive interaction and cooperative knowledge construction to take place it is necessary to bear in mind that different theories do not constitute a mirror in which people's identity and life in society is reflected. Those theories have their own ontological, epistemological and methodological assumptions and, if we incorporate the concepts of these theories cognitively, the subjects who are to be known will be observed, and their actions interpreted, along the line of those assumptions.
The weight of notions and categories with which the knowledge of the "other" is attained is, in general, so strong that it does not just hinder access and recognition of the common aspect of identity, but it also overshadows it, darkening the differences between individuals and groups, as well.
In these cases cooperative knowledge construction does not take place because inquirers, far from allowing the participant actors' manifestations and expressions of their own knowledge, try to explain them, interpret what they observe, listen to or read "data" with codes which are alien to those of the people whose actions they try to understand, imposing on them the violence of a code, a narrative, or a law they do generally not know, nor consider guides their actions.
This violence of the interpretation code imposes a "view" of the "others" on them and with it, an image of their identity, of what they are, can and, more often than not, must be and do. It predicts a destiny for them, it shows them their possible and impossible goals and the various possibility conditions.
Very little is finally known, on that account, about the destiny they aspire to and about what women and men look for and dream on a daily basis, although much is said about those other destinies, the so called "historical" ones, that are so often none other than the expression of certain individuals' desire to condition the future action and decision of others.
Concepts used to know, although critical at first, once established as universal cease to be analytical, and the religion of sense begins. They become canonical and enter the general system in theoretical reproduction mode.
Scientific, universalizing discourse, code, therefore turns imperialistic: I will now give an example to show how the ontological and epistemological principles I propose for qualitative research operate. This qualitative research tried to answer the following question: The interesting feature of this perspective lies in it examining the resources and strategies used in oral or written texts to impose, uphold, account for, and propose a certain interpretive model of social reality.
Those interpretive models are cognitively grounded, mostly, in the various epistemological paradigms I defined earlier Section 2. The inquiry was carried out at two time periods.
The first stage generated a corpus of data Corpus 1 that consisted of 84 items of news that were published between 27 th December and 17 th February , all dealing with the topic of violence in general, and with young people associated with criminal acts in particular. The second stage corpus Corpus 2 consisted of items of news on the same topic and from the same media along with articles from the "Co Latino" CL newspaper. The news articles were published between 7 th May and 17 th February The prevailing news items related to: The texts of those laws were also part of the corpus.
This is absolutely resourceful Patel. Presented in such a manner that a layman can understand this process. Thanks once again as you have just saved a brother. Thanks for this article and the youtube video. Breaking the concepts down as you have done has really helped grasp these concepts as I commence my PhD studies. The work is superb.
It has assisted me great deal. Great site to make sense of big words in simple terms. Thank you for the insight and simplicity of approach. Thank you everyone for your lovely comments. I am truly pleased to hear this article has been useful to so many of you! Wishing you all the best with your research endeavors. Thanks Salma, this was helpful, easy to understand and interesting above all. The presentation simplifies everything about research. I really appreciate your great effort for helping students who have been facing challenge with research.
Can you use the ontology and epistemology at the same time in the dissertation? Example say ontology of power is socially constructed and my epistemology to explain power is what? You would normally make reference to both Ontology and Epistemology in the thesis. I am not sure if the example you have given is correct though.
So ontology is a topic and epistemology finding how you arrive with the knowledge. Ontology can be positivist or non-positivist, subjective and objective.
Very useful, You made this so simple. Well done and thanks for relieving me of some of the stress. Can i only use the quantitative research approach while following the pragmatism paradigm. Thanks very much for this — after reading many text books and articles and still feeling lost, this was super helpful!!
Is it in the Analysis part of your methods? Or is it in Design as it is supposed to influence your whole study? Any recommendations or thoughts would be much appreciated!
Hi Natalie, I have usually seen it reported in the methodology chapter — that is also where I placed mine. I hope that helps. Your information is very useful. I have really enjoyed reading it. I have little understanding of ontoloy and epistemology now. Hello,thank you so much saima,i am very happy that i found it the meaning of research paradigm. God bless you saima patel!!!! Thank you for helping us to know critical things in precise ;concise; and simple manner.
How ever, I would like forward one question for you. Is there an instance in which two or more research paradigm may likely included in single research? Hi, Thank you so much for this. I would like to ask something: Thank you very much. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for creating this post Salma! Thanks so much salma for sharing the very useful information. I have more learn about various types of research paradigm. Again thanks for sharing us.
P, thank you so much for this explanation! Glad to know I have some place to go to for clarity. I wish all reviewers would read your article it is useful and clear. I certainly will keep it in mind for my own future reviews.
Hi, thanks for the information. I have a question that maybe you or someone can help me with. If symbolic interactionism is influenced by pragmatism, how did it end up being a interpretist theoretical perspective? I get that pragmatism states to use the best methods possible, but is there any more information on this? Many thanks in advance. This is a clear, logical post that provides explanation in an easily accessible fashion.
I am currently writing my Methods chapter and was struggling to understand a lot of the philosophical underpinnings piece. What you have provided here is very clear and comprehensive. Thank you for sharing. I just wanted to say Thank you! Finally, someone who can explain all the jargon simply. I am so much better equipped both in my personal studies and in my academic career.
Salma, I have shared this with many researchers and students and keep coming back to it. It is really an invaluable post and you have done the academic community a great service in sharing it. Just wanting to say thank you. That was extremely helpful. It is just so good! I am a PhD candidate and return to this page time and again. Thank you for putting it together.
Thank you for this very useful information. Please anyone, help me to understand that, where is the definition of Paradigm mentioned in the book of Kuhn Salma, Thank you so much for your time, effort and sharing your knowledge.
Your website is invaluable and has really helped me feel confident about starting my thesis, after feeling completely lost and hopeless.
Ideally I should be able to clearly articulate to others what my research paradigm is, though I often find myself oscillating between different poles depending on the day of the […]. A well written article on the paradigms of research in social science. I found many insights regarding the topic. The tabular form is much interesting and comprehensive.
Common to all Indo-European copula languages is the double use of the verb "to be" in both stating that entity X exists "X is. It is sometimes argued that a third use is also distinct, stating that X is a member of a class "X is a C". In other language families these roles may have completely different verbs and are less likely to be confused with one another. For example they might say something like "the car has redness" rather than "the car is red". Hence any discussion of "being" in Indo-European language philosophy may need to make distinctions between these senses.
In human geography there are two types of ontology: The other "o", or big "O", systematically, logically, and rationally describes the essential characteristics and universal traits. This concept relates closely to Plato's view that the human mind can only perceive a bigger world if they continue to live within the confines of their "caves". However, in spite of the differences, ontology relies on the symbolic agreements among members. That said, ontology is crucial for the axiomatic language frameworks.
Whitehead , for ontology, it is useful to distinguish the terms 'reality' and 'actuality'. In this view, an 'actual entity' has a philosophical status of fundamental ontological priority, while a 'real entity' is one which may be actual, or may derive its reality from its logical relation to some actual entity or entities.
For example, an occasion in the life of Socrates is an actual entity. But Socrates' being a man does not make 'man' an actual entity, because it refers indeterminately to many actual entities, such as several occasions in the life of Socrates, and also to several occasions in the lives of Alcibiades, and of others. But the notion of man is real; it derives its reality from its reference to those many actual occasions, each of which is an actual entity. An actual occasion is a concrete entity, while terms such as 'man' are abstractions from many concrete relevant entities.
According to Whitehead, an actual entity must earn its philosophical status of fundamental ontological priority by satisfying several philosophical criteria, as follows. Whitehead proposed that his notion of an occasion of experience satisfies the criteria for its status as the philosophically preferred definition of an actual entity. From a purely logical point of view, each occasion of experience has in full measure the characters of both objective and subjective reality.
Subjectivity and objectivity refer to different aspects of an occasion of experience, and in no way do they exclude each other. Aristotle's substances, such as Socrates, have behind them as more fundamental the 'primary substances', and in this sense do not satisfy Whitehead's criteria.
Whitehead is not happy with Leibniz' monads as actual entities because they are "windowless" and do not cause each other. States of affairs are contingent on particulars, and therefore have something behind them. Another summary, referring to its causal linkage to other actual entities, is that it is "all window", in contrast with Leibniz' windowless monads. This view allows philosophical entities other than actual entities to really exist, but not as fundamentally and primarily factual or causally efficacious; they have existence as abstractions, with reality only derived from their reference to actual entities.
A Whiteheadian actual entity has a unique and completely definite place and time. Whiteheadian abstractions are not so tightly defined in time and place, and in the extreme, some are timeless and placeless, or 'eternal' entities.
All abstractions have logical or conceptual rather than efficacious existence; their lack of definite time does not make them unreal if they refer to actual entities. Whitehead calls this 'the ontological principle'. There is an established and long philosophical history of the concept of atoms as microscopic physical objects.
They are far too small to be visible to the naked eye. It was as recent as the nineteenth century that precise estimates of the sizes of putative physical atoms began to become plausible. Almost direct empirical observation of atomic effects was due to the theoretical investigation of Brownian motion by Albert Einstein in the very early twentieth century. But even then, the real existence of atoms was debated by some.
Such debate might be labeled 'microcosmic ontology'. Here the word 'microcosm' is used to indicate a physical world of small entities, such as for example atoms. Subatomic particles are usually considered to be much smaller than atoms.
Their real or actual existence may be very difficult to demonstrate empirically. Reasonably, one may ask, in what sense, if any, do virtual particles exist as physical entities? For atomic and subatomic particles, difficult questions arise, such as do they possess a precise position, or a precise momentum?
A question that continues to be controversial is 'to what kind of physical thing, if any, does the quantum mechanical wave function refer? The first ontological argument in the Western Christian tradition  was proposed by Anselm of Canterbury in his work Proslogion.
Anselm defined God as "that than which nothing greater can be thought", and argued that this being must exist in the mind, even in the mind of the person who denies the existence of God. He suggested that, if the greatest possible being exists in the mind, it must also exist in reality.
If it only exists in the mind, then an even greater being must be possible—one which exists both in the mind and in reality. Therefore, this greatest possible being must exist in reality. Descartes published several variations of his argument, each of which centred on the idea that God's existence is immediately inferable from a "clear and distinct" idea of a supremely perfect being.
In the early eighteenth century, Gottfried Leibniz augmented Descartes' ideas in an attempt to prove that a "supremely perfect" being is a coherent concept.
Norman Malcolm revived the ontological argument in when he located a second, stronger ontological argument in Anselm's work; Alvin Plantinga challenged this argument and proposed an alternative, based on modal logic.
Attempts have also been made to validate Anselm's proof using an automated theorem prover. Other arguments have been categorised as ontological, including those made by Islamic philosophers Mulla Sadra and Allama Tabatabai. Jaakko Hintikka puts the view that a useful explication of the notion of existence is in the words "one can find", implicitly in some world or universe of discourse.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about ontology in philosophy. For the concept in information science and computing, see Ontology information science.
Not to be confused with Oncology , Odontology , Ontogeny , or Deontology. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
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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 ent.
The purpose of this paper is to describe the most relevant features of qualitative research in order to show how, from the Epistemology of the Known Subject perspective I propose, it is necessary to review first the ontological and then the epistemological grounds of this type of inquiry.
Ontological research, - Developing hypothesis. Meeting the deadline is one of the main requirements for any paper — so our essay writing service guarantees that you get your essay before the deadline. What on earth are Ontology and Epistemology? Dr Sally Vanson I am an NLP Master Trainer, sit on the accreditation panel of ANLP, the Research Committee of ICF and am CEO of The Performance Solution where as well as training professional coaches to get accreditation through ICF, we have designed, developed and run the world’s.
Ontological, Epistemological and Methodological Assumptions: Qualitative Versus Quantitative Abdelhamid Ahmed Assistant Lecturer at The Curriculum & Instruction Dept. Contemporary ontology is a partnership of multiple disciplines. On the one hand ontological research involves philosophers who are concerned to describe broad categories of .