Summary: an Explanation and Categorization of Epistemological and Ontological Stances

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The preceding chapter gave an overview literature on organizational culture and background of all the variables of the research. This chapter will define the approach to be undertaken in this research, as an introduction to the full research design. As an outcome of the problem statement mentioned to in Chapter One, the all-inclusive aim of this study is to critically analysis the impact of organizational culture on the business performance. In this direction, the study endeavours to create latest knowledge, which could make NBSZ more purposeful, efficient and sustainable. The research design is used so that appropriate research methods are applied to ensure the accomplishment of the set-out objectives and questions in Chapter One. Subsequently, the research philosophy, approaches, choices, data collection techniques and sampling are explained in this chapter. In addition to that the chapter will seek to find issues of critical analysis, validity, reliability and triangulation and provide the limitations of the study.

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Advocates of research philosophies Saunders et al. and Becker, have employed and displayed their beliefs and knowledge in what appeared and got agreed as paradigm “wars”. Ritchie and Lewis‘s explanation and categorization of epistemological and ontological stances is different from that of Saunders et al. Ritchie and Lewis’s  the epistemological perspective include interpretivism and positivism and the ontological perspective include realism; idealism, critical realism, materialism and relativism. Consequently, Saunders et al.’s and Guba and Lincoln show a viewpoint that views philosophies (i.e. realism, positivism, interpretism, and pragmatism) from an epistemological, ontological, axiological stance. An even intersecting categorization of these philosophies is that of Guba and Lincolm; which links post–positivist, positivism and constructivist to critical realism. An additional example in the context of philosophy is pragmatism that is believed to have grown from realism described as Peirce realism by Thayer. These philosophies are not entirely different. Put differently, they all share a common set of assumptions, and their commonalities identify these philosophies as examples of broader philosophies.

However, whilst they share critical assumptions, they emphasize very different implications of those assumptions. And while they all focus on explaining methodological differences in research, they adopt different categorisation and classification. Agreed to these disparities, it is not astonishing that these philosophical arguments have created a dilemma for researchers. Certainly, identifying the potentially contrary impact on researchers should call for a combined effort to standardize the philosophies.

Advocated by Creswell and Plano Clark four different viewpoints on accepting worldviews in mixed methods research. Firstly, the only worldview can be nominated to buttress the entire study. Ordinarily, this would either be a transformative, pragmatism (emancipatory) approach or, more recently, critical realism Creswell and Plano Clark; Andrew and Halcomb; Maudsley. Walsh and Evans; Andrew and Halcomb. A pragmatic approach comprises the researcher using “what works” in order to get answers to the research question.

The pragmatic approach was chosen by the researcher because is understands the research problem as being most significant, valuing both the objective and subjective in order to reveal the answers Creswell and Plano Clar Feilzer, Andrew and Halcomb. Various ways of understanding the world was reflected after employing this approach that creates various tensions and oppositions. Thirdly, Creswell and Plano Clark declare that multiple worldviews can be merged relating to the design of the mixed methods study. Finally, Creswell and Plano Clark proclaim that worldviews can be supported upon the collective beliefs with a scholarly society. This viewpoint suggests that investigators within a given ground have common beliefs about meaningful research questions and appropriate methods for answering these questions. In contemplation with above two mentioned philosophies, the researcher chooses the positivism philosophy for this study. In order to attain the planned research objectives and questions of this research positivist method seems to be most suitable for the research. Nevertheless of which philosophical viewpoint is selected for a mixed methods study, the research methods should be in line with this philosophy and its tenets should underpin all facets of the research process. 

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