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What do you understand by the term epistemology How can different epistemological understandings influence choice of research method - Essay Example

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Therefore, truthfulness of research results becomes important too. The researcher has the upper hand in determining validity and credibility of research depending on the epistemological…
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What do you understand by the term epistemology How can different epistemological understandings influence choice of research method
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Epistemological Influence on Choice of Research Methods Research plays a very imperative role in growth and advancement of the society. Therefore, truthfulness of research results becomes important too. The researcher has the upper hand in determining validity and credibility of research depending on the epistemological understanding. It is undeniable that two researchers would certainly present different findings on the same research object depending on foundation of knowledge of each researcher.
There are many definitions of epistemology but a basic and general definition is the understanding of knowledge. Epistemology seeks to explore or evaluate how knowledge is acquired, how much knowledge is understood, and knowledge is constructed within the realms of human mind. Epistemology tries to explain the relationship between depth of human understanding about a particular subject and the reliability of that understanding. It seeks to answer the question how what is known can be measured.
Research aims at analyzing objects of nature in order to come up with a helpful conclusion. The researcher is thus at the discretion of using personal beliefs, understanding, and justification to influence the outcome of the research findings. A report by University of Oulu claims that the researcher is in a position to “influence directly only the epistemological basis of the research, not the evaluator’s bias, but of course clear criteria stated by the researcher makes it more valid for the reader to evaluate the trustworthiness of the research” (University of Oulu, 2003, p. 1). Seale echoes the same sentiments “it is true that certain epistemological and theoretical positions have influenced the character of both quantitative and qualitative research” (Seale, 2004 p. 506).
Truthfulness of research is very important especially in the field of public health. For instance, I intend to use Quantitative analysis for my dissertation that aims at investigating public’s awareness of thalassemia syndromes in Jordans Capital – Amman. The study will collect information in form of questionnaires. Certainly, the questionnaires will be a reflection of my epistemological foundation. The questions will be formulated based on understanding of the topic. Although a lot of work on literature review will be done, interpretation of the literature work will depend on two main factors. First, it will depend on the line of thought of authors of the literature that I will review. Secondly, it will depend on my own interpretation of the literature work, which in turn will depend on personal knowledge.
Arguably, my epistemological understanding will have the greatest influence on my study when it comes to interpretation of the questionnaires. I will interpret the answers to questionnaires depending on my knowledge, understanding about the reality, belief, and personal opinion. It is however important that personal stand on a particular subject of study be given to give the users of research results the freedom to use their judgment (Bryman & Bell, 2007).
In conclusion, epistemology refers to the science of knowledge and the realms of truth. The researcher has the discretion to determine the discourse of a research and ultimately the research results depending on the epistemological foundation. My epistemological foundation will certainly influence my research on measure the publics awareness of thalassemia syndromes in Amman. Therefore, it will be important to do a thorough and wide research on the subject, and approach the study with an open unbiased mind.
Bryman, A & Bell, E 2007, Business research methods, Oxford University Press, London.
Seale, C 2004, Social research methods: a reader, Routledge, London.
University of Oulu 2003, Trustworthiness of the research. viewed 7 January 2012, <>. Read More
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