Philosophy of Research

A philosophy of research is the process of determining what the nature of a research assumption should be. Philosophical frameworks include Ontology, Positivism, Interpretivism, and Multi-paradigmatism. Each has its merits and drawbacks. The following article will discuss some of these frameworks and how they relate to research. The definitions of each framework are discussed in the context of the research question. These frameworks differ in their implications for the nature of knowledge.


Ontology is a topic that often divides philosophers. Many see ontology as a field of study that aims to find out what exists. Ontology is sometimes misinterpreted as an armchair inquiry into reality, but that is not the case. Ontology is a project to discover what reality fundamentally is. Philosophers often disagree on whether or not this inquiry should be prior to the research of reality.

The study of ontology is important to the philosophical investigation of reality, which is often the basis for scientific inquiry. It involves the study of the nature of being, as well as the things that make up reality. According to Guba & Lincoln, ontology involves the study of what things are and how they work. The study of the nature of reality is a critical component of social research, since it helps explain what we observe and understand.

Although the relation between ontology and metaphysics is unclear, there is general agreement that reality is real in a relevant sense. In addition to the generality of reality, all ontology approaches permit the literal description of the world. Similarly, the ordinary description of the world may include such things as midsize objects, mathematical systems, and morality. Although the world is composed of literal truths, they may also point to deeper ones.

Ontology in philosophy of research is a subject that continues to debate. The definition of commitment is another topic that is open for discussion. The distinction between internal and external objects is the most controversial in philosophical research. For instance, Stephen Yablo argued that the distinction between internal and external objects is not factually relevant. But the distinction between internal and external objects is not factual. Ontology in the sense of (O2) is a mistake.

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Ontology in philosophy of research is an important topic to address in any dissertation, but especially in business studies. At a Bachelors or Master’s level, it’s not necessary to discuss it in detail. But at the PhD level, an ontology section can take up two pages or more. The formal definition of the term should be followed by a short explanation of its meaning. Finally, the rationale for choosing this particular method of study should be linked to the research objectives.


A philosophical orientation towards qualitative research, interpretivism is a method that values the experiences and meanings people attach to events. Research conducted through interpretivism aims to discover patterns, trends, themes, and understandings of real-life situations. Its emphasis on qualitative methods allows for the detailed study of a particular situation. Although the findings of interpretivism are not generalisable, they do provide a deeper understanding of human nature.

The depth of discussion regarding research philosophy will depend on the level of study. Typically, a Bachelor’s dissertation would state that the researcher adopted the Interpretivism philosophy and describe its essence. Master’s level dissertations would expand the discussion to two or three paragraphs and offer a justification for adopting this philosophy. Once the researcher explains the philosophical foundations of interpretation, they should also explain their methodological choices.

This philosophy argues that the human mind is based on a particular mental model and worldview, which influences the research paradigm. Hence, a researcher’s position has a major impact on the research results. In addition to that, Norkus draws attention to the importance of open debate in the natural sciences. While it is not the same as free discussion, both of these approaches have a strong theoretical foundation.

The importance of context cannot be understated. The social environment is complex, and researchers must take into consideration the circumstances in which these phenomena happen. By placing people in social contexts, interpretivists can better understand human behaviour. Similar to phenomenology, interpretivism emphasizes the dynamic nature of social reality. By recognizing that it is not possible to know everything about a given situation, interpretivists seek to understand the situation through the eyes of those being studied.

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The idea of science as subjective is fundamental to interpretive philosophy. It argues that scientific theories can only be fully understood if researchers observe and examine various viewpoints. In this way, interpretive research allows for the creative aspects of science. It is opposed to positivist philosophy, which devalues social interaction among researchers and individual researcher idiosyncrasies. This philosophy also acknowledges the importance of mental models in the process of research.


A study conducted according to the positivist philosophy of research is based on objective facts, without any consideration for the human interest. According to Crowther and Lancaster, positivist studies adopt the deductive approach, whereas an inductive approach is associated with the phenomenology philosophy. The two philosophical systems differ in their stance on how to conduct research, but both tend to be based on the same principles.

In both cases, assumptions are seen as preliminary statements based on the philosophizing person’s understanding and knowledge. The authors of both positivist and pragmatist research philosophy argue that all research is based on these assumptions, and that different researchers may have differing assumptions about the nature of knowledge and truth. A research philosophy is important for scientists because it provides a framework in which they can develop ideas and conduct research.

Applied to science, positivism advocates the use of empirical, verifiable data. Such data is collected in a value-free way, thereby enabling researchers to come up with general scientific laws. As numbers are generally objective, mathematical equations and calculations are easy to come up with. Positive thinking has been a popular philosophy of research for centuries. You can find plenty of examples of how positivism has influenced research.

Positive psychology is an approach that stresses the importance of empiricism, observation, measurement, experimentation, and logic in research. This philosophy advocates the use of empirical methods to discover natural laws and patterns. It emphasizes a strong foundation in scientific practice, while rejecting much of the metaphysical worldview. A research philosophy based on positivism is grounded in scientific method and principles. However, it also stresses the importance of rigorous methods to ensure that the results are accurate.

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The Frankfurt School criticized positivism, particularly the concept of universal laws, which separates theory from reality. The Frankfurt School rejected positivism’s idea of unity in the sciences, arguing that physical objects are studied differently than objectified minds. This enables scientists to use empirical methods more efficiently and effectively, as opposed to theoretical ones. In addition, positivist research has a lot of limitations and is based on the idea that we can’t know everything.


The concept of multi-paradigmatism in philosophy of research is the practice of combining different paradigms in the process of undertaking research. Different paradigms respect the interdependence of internal and external values and their respective methods and methodologies. While the three major paradigms may share many characteristics, they are incommensurable. Each paradigm has its own merits and shortcomings, and the use of any one in the process of another will affect its effectiveness.

For example, each paradigm posits a different version of reality. Consequently, a multi-paradigmatic approach reduces the chance of being like the blind men who misinterpreted an elephant by claiming that it was just a body part. The blind men also tended to insist that their interpretation was right. While multi-paradigmatism is not an alternative to pragmatism, it does differ from positivism.

Among the three approaches, pragmatism aims to treat facts in its own way. It does not prescribe a particular method but prioritizes practical outcomes. The choice of method is largely driven by the problem being investigated. In other words, pragmatists don’t view reality or philosophy as a single, absolute unit. They don’t believe that truth is absolute, and therefore reject the idea that it is subject to mind dualism.

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