A teacher librarian's learning journey

Epistemology & ontology & a few more words like that… April 18, 2013

Filed under: EER500 Introduction to Educational Research — Jennifer Baccon @ 11:46 am

Freimuth (2009)  Educational research: An introduction to basic concepts and terminology

I thought these were to do with religion and birds…

Ontology: The study of what we know…OR…what we think we know…

Epistemology: The study of how we achieve knowledge…OR…how we think we achieve knowledge…


  • Into empiricism
  • The aim is to describe phenomenon experienced
  • Hold the ontological and epistemic view in recognising duality in the separation of researcher from reality
  • Object reality exists beyond the human mind


  • Ontological and epistemic perspective of the inseparability of researcher from experience
  • Knowledge gained through observing real-life via mainly qualitative methods
  • Open to criticism re. interpretation and criticism
  • Researcher needs to analyse own subjectivity
  • Triangulation, critical or  multiple data collection methods to validate

Critical theory: Based on concept that knowledge can be prejudiced, socially oppressing or self-serving

Still suffering from inductive and deductive confusion. Let’s try:

  • Inductive is bottom-up and fits with qualitative research
  • From specific observations to more generalised ideas and theories

An example of inductive reasoning can be seen in this set of statements: Today, I left for work at eight o’clock and I arrived on time. Therefore, every day that I leave the house at eight o’clock, I will arrive to work on time.

  • Deductive is top-down and fits with quantitative research
  • Working down from broad information to a specific conclusion

An example of deductive reasoning can be seen in this set of statements: Every day, I leave for work in my car at eight o’clock. Every day, the drive to work takes 45 minutes I arrive to work on time. Therefore, if I leave for work at eight o’clock today, I will be on time.

In quantitative research, a complex abstraction that meaningfully combines concepts is called a construct

An event, category, behaviour, or attribute that expresses a construct is called a variable

Mode of inquiry is not methods of data collection…it’s the lot re. research methods

Most common type of design that is used when conducting causal research with existing classrooms

The purpose of research using descriptive designs is to characterise existing behaviours or conditions

Correlational is more about investigating connections between measures e.g. the relationship between measures of anxiety and measures of intelligence


Your Answer: correlational

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