RES 701, Week 2, Ontology & Epistemology

Research Philosophy

It is essential to have some philosophy while we are doing research on a topic or field. Everyone will have their own philosophy towards the research analysis. Hence Research Philosophy can be defined as dealing with the source, nature and development of knowledge on which we focus to research. It can be simply abbreviated as the way of which data should be collected, analyzed and used. In-order to answer the research question you need to collect the available primary and secondary data and should analyze it so that the question will be answered. This analysis and result will result to the makeup of new knowledge in the desired field. You should be aware and should be able to come with your beliefs and assumptions which helps the research work. Assumptions which we have, and the nature of research questions is the base of each stages in the research process. Hence it is very important that the assumptions we have should be very related to the question which we need to answer.

Ontology

Ontology can be defined as the study of ‘being’ and is concerned with ‘what is’. Simply it focuses on several inter-related questions such as

  1. What is existence?
  2. What is the nature of existence?
  3. What categories they belong?
  4. Does objective reality exist?
  5. What does the verb ‘to be’ mean?

Some of these are not relevant, abstract and not very useful but, very important to philosophers who believes that to solve a question it is necessary to discuss/start with the most fundamental issues. Derived from the Greek word ‘ontos’ which means being and ‘logos’ which means study, Ontology tries to describe the nature of being existence and their difference and similarities.

In Information Technology (IT), Ontology refers to the working model of entities and interactions in some domain of knowledge. Example: ‘the activity of planning’. At same time in Artificial Intelligence (AI) it can be defined as ‘the specification of conceptualizations, used to help programs and humans share knowledge’ (Tom Gruber, AI scientist, Stanford university).

Since Ontology helps to understand and work on all these questions, for a research it is quite relevant. As it is said above, in IT ontology helps to find out what are all the entities needed to connect and how their interactions can be made in-order to achieve a working system. Hence it is necessary to have all these types of questions to understand what we going to do? or on what research questions we are working on?

Epistemology

We should realize among different ways of learning research, Epistemology is the prominent one. The branch of philosophy which deals ‘knowing’ is called Epistemology. Simply Epistemology can be defined as the study of knowledge. It is very important since it influences how researches formulate their research in accordance with their ways to discover knowledge. It concerns with all the aspects of validity, scope and methods of acquiring knowledge. It may include

  1. What constitutes a knowledge claim?
  2. How the knowledge can be acquired?
  3. How much extent its transferability can be accessed?

Epistemology in business is concerned with the possibilities, source, limitations and nature of knowledge which depends on the area where the research involves. Epistemologists are those who deal this and at least four different sources of knowledge can be recognized by them. Research often tries to use of all four.

  1. Intuitive – coming up with an initial idea for research
  2. Authoritative – reviewing professional literature
  3. Logical – reasoning from findings to conclusions
  4. Empirical – engaging certain procedure which lead to findings

The above all 4 are used carefully and most importantly in research and thus the need of epistemology in the research is much important than any other. Like in research we must initiate a topic/idea for the research. Then only remaining 3 steps can be successfully completed. It is must in order to determine whether the idea we need to research is true or can be applied and if not, what are all the limitations or critical points which makes it non applicable. Hence while research the role of epistemology is inevitable.

Since Ontology helps to understand and work on all these questions, for a research it is quite relevant. As it is said above, in IT ontology helps to find out what are all the entities needed to connect and how their interactions can be made in-order to achieve a working system. Hence it is necessary to have all these types of questions to understand what we going to do? or on what research questions we are working on?

What is the connection between ontology and epistemology in a research context?

Ontology and Epistemology play very significant parts in philosophy since both terms are relevant to the discussion of theoretical issues. In-order to explain the connection between Ontology and Epistemology I would like to use the term reality.

Ontology refers to What is reality? and Epistemology refers what and how can I know reality? From this itself the connection between these two are cleared. First, we should have the idea of what is reality? then only we could think of what to know in-order to achieve that reality or how to know that reality?

References :-

  1. Bajpai, N. (2011) “Business Research Methods” Pearson Education India
  2. Demystifying Ontology and Epistemology in research methods, Hashil Al-Saadi, PhD Research Student, School of Education University of Sheffield
  3. https://philosophyterms.com/ontology/
  4. http://salmapatel.co.uk/academia/the-research-paradigm-methodology-epistemology-and-ontology-explained-in-simple-language/#sidr-main
  5. https://i2insights.org/2017/05/02/philosophy-for-interdisciplinarity/
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RES 701, Week 2, Scenario 1, Dealing with TRUTH.

Today’s class is going to discuss about the topic What is Truth? As a group work we discussed the below questions and shared each persons thoughts. After acquiring the data inside group Lars discussed each question in the class and let us to share our opinions. It was a nice discussion, it helps a lot to get idea regarding the truth, facts etc.

I am sharing my opinions below regarding the questions discussed in the class.

Is there a difference between ‘knowing’ something and ‘having knowledge’ of something?

In my perspective the final outcome of ‘knowing’ something and ‘having knowledge’ of something is same but, the way we approach these are different. ‘Knowing’ is a way of learning something from our experience. Suppose I am researching on a topic and you came to a conclusion follows certain facts and concepts, this is knowing something regarding the selected topic from my own experience which lead me to the conclusion. At the same time ‘having knowledge’ of something is like we are referring to the works or information did by some other person and I am learning certain topic using those information. At the end the outcome is same but the way we approach towards that particular topic differs.

What is Truth?

Truth can be defined as the facts or beliefs that supports something is true or accepted as true. Considering facts, almost for everyone the truth is same but in accordance with the beliefs it may vary on how we think? or what we think?. Hence the truth that exists in accordance with the beliefs may vary with people but, the truth that exists in accordance with the facts will be same for almost everyone. It can also be told as the inner feeling of a human being on how he/she approaches the truth.

What do we really mean when we say something is ‘true’?

According to the human behavior saying something is true can be of two things. First one, it is already known that it is true based on what learned or read second one, it came to known through the experience. So basically something is true if lot of persons considered it as true in accordance with facts or beliefs or in accordance with the personal experience. For my if I am saying something is true it truly depends on the facts which I got as conclusion over my experience. Some times those things which is depended on religious or culture I may consider my elder one’s facts which considered as a beliefs.

Is there a difference between knowing something is ‘true’ and believing that something is ‘true’?

Knowing and believing something is different. Knowing something is true is based on facts which acquired from information which happened to be made by some other persons. Believing that something is true is also based as above but, it differs in the confidence of us on how much we trust on it. Sometimes we may trust the conclusion did by some other person, only because they are succeeded to produce enough facts and points which made you to believe or trust them. At the same time if I did research on something and in the conclusion I will certainly believe my conclusion is true if and only if I am enough confident that I did the research precisely.

What is the difference between subjective and objective ‘truth’?

Objective truth can be defined as something which appears to true to the whole universe, even if someone says it is not true it can’t be proved. For an example Living organisms need Air and Water to live. Even if some one tries to argue that it is wrong it won’t be. At the same time subjective truths are those which may vary in accordance with the situation or people which depends on it. Some time it is true for those who made the judgment which may not be true for others. Taking an example, I am happy, this is one subjective truth which only depends on me. It can’t be same for the listeners. In the end I believe that Truth is Objective but its perception is Subjective.

What is a ‘fact’ and can ‘facts’ change ?

Fact can be defined as a thing which is known or proved to be true also, piece of information which makes certain things true and it is consistent. A fact becomes true when it has enough evidence to prove that is true. “The sun is a star” is a cosmological fact. Facts may change when considering history. To a certain extent history is an assumption even if we have evidences. For an example, with current available technology I am telling that certain creature was lived 10 million years ago but, it may change if much technological advancement. So sometimes some factors which supports the facts may change mostly, which came into a fact in depended with certain other factors.

How do we discover if something is ‘true’ or not?

Discovering something is true, is entirely depended on what the situation is? or what the truth is about? In some cases we will convince only when, we have facts and reasons to support the truth. On other case if we trust the source we will trust the truth also. Hence it is depended.

“We do not see things as they are but as we are” Anais Nin. What does this mean?

We see the world through our own visions and expectations. We have no single idea on how others think or see. The basic human behavior is that it always tends to visualize a concept or theory in their own way. But it differs according to people. The way we grew, the surroundings, the situations, everything is depended on this visualization. Hence people won’t get what I mean through my statements. They will visualize in their own way. The simplest example is poems. The poet writes a poem in his own words which implies certain inner meanings and feelings but, it is not appropriate to think that who ever reads that has to get the same meanings or feelings what poet tried to visualize through it. Hence complex poems need to have explanation to know what does it actually mean?

“Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one”Einstein. What does this mean?

Reality is an illusion, yes sometimes we will feel like ‘Oh God is this happening?’ but it is. Even if we think it is an illusion it represents the sum of all of your previous decisions, actions and inaction. So whatever happens it is the outcome of our own. As it is said Reality is very persistent. Something will happen in the long go. It won’t miss you. There will be a reality and it depends on our actions. It may happen suddenly or it may take it’s own time but, in the end it will happen.

Is there a difference between ‘true’ and ‘valid’? Explain!

In a single statement it can be states as ‘true’ and ‘valid’ are synonyms but, with different basis. True is always true with inbuilt facts and reasons. At the same time some thing is valid is independent with whether it is true or not. In group participation like debates there is no such thing as true. Even if we support a matter which is logically false, we are intended to make it as valid and opposite tries to make their part valid. Hence validity depends on where we stands? or on what we supports?

True Valid
Concerned with What is the case? Concerned with whether conclusions follows from premises
  The validity of an argument is independent of the truth or falsity of the premises it contains

RES 701, Week 1, Scenario 2

  1. What do you think ‘research’ is?
  2. What is research?

According to the Wikipedia, Research is creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humans, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications. It is hard to understand from the above definition what Research is? Thus what I understand is Research can a systematic analysis and investigation of resources and sources which indeed required to establish the facts and reasons to formulate new conclusions.

Do you think you will ever need research skills?

I believe everyone has their own research skills in their own way. For an example, I am going to start a business, before starting I should know what is doing and what should be the outcome of it? For this, I need to know what is the current scope of the business proposal? So to have detailed knowledge on these I should work on it and should have a piece of perfect knowledge on what I do? This involves research, may it won’t be as systematic as in industry still it requires. In the end I don’t need to think whether I need research skills, I should need it.

How to turn research into Research?

Once I came to realize on what idea I need to research I need to focus on below points

  1. Identifying the scope of your idea
  2. Need to generalize a question on what basis the research is started
  3. Should not deviate from the question
  4. Need to analyze and finalize what methodology can be applied for this idea
  5. Work on it
  6. Success or Fails Should have a conclusion which has facts that support the conclusion.

What do you think a research journal is and who is it written for?

A research journal is something a researcher is used to refer to the work on which the research has done. The research journal consists of research work such as a study on a particular topic, its possibilities, success rates, failure situations, conclusions etc. Hence whenever the researcher needs to know about the research work, referring to the journal is enough. Research journals are written by those who research and those who are experts in certain fields. Thus when researching they will get more knowledge and become more expert. So simply, those who want to be expert in a certain field and those who need to find the solution do research and implement research journals.

  1. What is plagiarism?
  2.  Why is it important ?

Plagiarism can be defined as the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own. Simply the definition is mentioned here is a statement which I took from someone else’s work, hence this statement is plagiarized by me. It is very illegal to use another person’s work without the permission of that person, like copyright works. So while writing reports it is very important that the work need not be copied from another person’s work. We have only the right to refer their work, it should not be taken. If it needs to be defined, it should be in our own words. Some times some quotes need to be copy-pasted, in such situations, it is our responsibility to mention the reference from where we got the data or pieces of information. If we used someone else’s definitions and not referenced it will be considered as theft data and no more our work is recognized. Thus it is our responsibility to respect the work did by others.


RES 701, Week 1, Scenario 1

Research methods which focus on how to research, what approached we should have will be tutored by Lars Oliver Dam. I will be introducing to the scientific way of approaching the project. Lars has explained on what is meant by research and what are all the things need to considered in it.

The need to do research is explained and introduced what are all the assignments I need to finish before the course completed. There will be 3 Assignments. Each assignment is focused on how we approach research. Also explained what I going to deal with in the entire course on week basis.

Assignment 1 -> Journal, Need to start a blog which should consistently update similarly like at least once in a week. This will reflect how my research work is going and it is important for the Lars to evaluate us on how hard we work on and what we are doing the entire course period?. It shows the result of my entire work.

Assignment 2 -> Evaluating Literature, Find a research paper, read it and evaluate it. In the end, I should submit a review report regarding the research paper I have chosen according to my interest. This will give me a comprehensive idea on how we should approach on a research topic.

Assignment 3 -> Proposal, I should provide a proposal which can be used for my PRJ 702 and it should accept by the BIT program academic commettee.

The purpose of this course is to provide a comprehensive overview of rigorous research practice and to lay a foundation of research skills which will be relevant to both further study and professional practice.