Epistemological and Ontological Bases for Research in Education (orientation along with epistemological and ontological assumptions as well as approaches)

Epistemological and Ontological Bases for Research in Education

journalpapers.org Almost all social science researches in general, and educational researches, in particular, based on varied philosophical assumptions, are carried out distinctly by taking cues from certain orientations. There are a number of approaches that are used within the context of educational researches.

Varied orientation along with epistemological and ontological assumptions as well as approaches influence the methods and methodologies that are adopted in the process of collection and generation of data and its analysis.

There is no particular way of conducting educational research, which is valid in all sense. Similarly, how the research findings will be known and conveyed do not depend on a certain way of conducting researches in education.

Epistemological questions like what and how of known knowledge in terms of its knowability do not depend on the legitimacy of conducting educational research in a particular way. While designing and conducting educational research, epistemological orientations and its reflections do help the researchers to identify the measures suitable for a particular context and the people concerned.

Educational research is largely focused on finding out how the educational world is under- stood based on people’s larger social and cultural lives, behaviors, dynamic interactions, and, above all, life stories.

It is more interested in the processes than the product, and for this reason, the dynamics of social as well as cultural context and people’s own perspectives—on life and the world—based on their experiences are considered important ingredients while conducting research.

Ontological understanding in education orients us to the two most fundamental ques- tions, which are, what constitutes educational reality and how can we capture this reality? Epistemological understanding acquaints us with the two most seminal questions—what is valid knowledge and how can we know it?

The epistemological and ontological under- standings lead us to comprehend that in educational researches, there exists a triangular relationship among epistemological and ontological positions and its methodological approach. That is to say that the methodological approach will largely depend on what is to be and can be researched upon, and how the same can be known.

In educational discourse, knowing the context is emphasized more often, especially in terms of knowing people. Knowing people and their context demands two different kinds of knowledge—one is ontological and the other is epistemological.

Therefore, in educational research, which is largely centered on people and their context, the researchers often commit mistakes in comparing different sets of data ontologically and epistemologically.

To this end, the seminal question arises: why should the epistemology of the known subject be considered as the epistemological and ontological bases of educational research? Primarily, it is the people’s world and existence around which educational research revolves.

Therefore, ontological perspective and it's understanding will equip the educator educational researchers to comprehend the identity and existential issues that are important to the understanding of human existence in larger pedagogical space.



The term science may be thought of as an approach to the gathering of knowledge rather than as a field or subject matter. Science, put simply, consists of two primary functions:

(1) the devel- opment of theory and

(2) the testing of substantive hypotheses that are deduced from theory.

The scientist, therefore, is engaged in the use, modification, and/or  creation of theory. The scientist may emphasize an empirical approach in which data collection is the primary method, a rational approach in which logical and deductive reasoning is primary, or a combination of these approaches, which is most common. Regardless of the emphasis, the scientist begins with a set of ideas that direct the effort and with a goal that entails the development or testing of theory.

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