Ontology, 1-3 Epistemology and Methodology Definition Assessment

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¶ … Ontology, 1-3

Epistemology and Methodology

Definition of Positivist Paradigm, 4-6

Interpretive Paradigm and Feminist Paradigm

For the study of tourism to work best and to succeed, it proceeds as all other fields must, namely by research. Research, however, is never homogeneous. It is comprised of various methodologies, ranging from the hard, empirical quantitative type of study, t o the soft, more subjective, qualitative interpretations.

Not only are there different methodologies, but research often, or, rather, invariably, operates against a specific theory and this theory depends on the author's inclinations. Some for instance may be inclined to use a positive theory, whilst other a feminist or grounded theory, or phenomenological approach amongst many others. These are all different perspective -- or ways of looking at the data. The same piece of data -- or situation -- can be perceived and interpreted from various ways resulting in a multi-faceted study.

The fantastic, and fascinating aspect of this is that one situation can be seen in diverse ways with the same phenomena discussed and approached in a contradictory manner. This leads us to different ways of interpreting the outcome and may, indeed lead to different outcomes. The fact that research can be interpreted in so many diverse ways depending one one's subjective weltecnshcung is the stuff of philosophy of science.

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In the following essay, we take 3 articles that are on the subject of tourism and show how each adopted a different approach on the same subject and how each, ipso facto, discussed the matter in a different style, and voice and used different methodological tools. The 3 different epistemological, ontological and methodological world views were in turn: feminism, positivism, and interpretative.

Definition of Paradigm, Ontology and Epistemology and Methodology


Assessment on Ontology, 1-3 Epistemology and Methodology Definition of Assignment

Paradigm refers to the way that we perceive the world. It first came into popularity with Kuhn (1963) who argued that scientific paradigms are contingent on time and depend on the popular way if thinking for fixation. It is only when this popular thinking on the subject gets into irreversible difficulties and unsolvable problems that they are forced to look for a solution that may involve differences to a prior way of thinking. Hence a paradigm shift is created followed by a new period of conformist thought. Examples in kind are Copernicus's revolutionary model of the universe, and Einstein's physic that supplanted Newtonian perspective .

The greatest impediment to paradigmatic shift is a paradigm paralysis which tends to occur and to impede people from progressing to a new thought. This is similar to confirmation bias where people are simply disinclined to change their way of thinking and to view the science in a different manner (Nickles, 2002, pp. 1- 4. 9).

The word originates from the Greek roots of (paradeigma), "pattern, example, sample "from the verb "exhibit, represent, expose "and from the verb "to show, to point out" ( Liddell & Scott, a Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3Dpara%2Fdeigma )

The term 'paradigm' has actually had various meanings throughout history abut has currently assumed the philosophical / scientific connotations of the particular way that one epistemologically interprets the world matters. The Merriam-Webster for instance defines it as:

"a philosophical and theoretical framework of a scientific school or discipline within which theories, laws, and generalizations and the experiments performed in support of them are formulated; broadly: a philosophical or theoretical framework of any kind. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/paradigm)

returning to Kuhn and a fact that we will notice from our essay, Kuhn comments that paradigms are generally incommensurate one with the other, meaning that each has different standards of principles and that, therefore, their different treatments of the same subject cannot be merged becayuse very often they may be contradictory. Each, in other words, has a different way of looking at the factor. Sometimes this different way may be utterly contradictory in kind. Taking this into consideration, it is difficult to come to any conclusive decision since ultimately, the approach to the subject has been subjective rather than objective and scientific though its methodology may be, it is still based on the particular interpretation of the individual. No paradigm is therefore necessarily better than another because each exists of a particular, unique way of perceiving the world (Slattery, 2003. 151-155. )


Ontology refers to the overall way that one sees the world. It is the philosophical terms used for 'being' or 'reality' or 'existence' and, a s such, refers to the way that a particular person philosophically views existence / reality / being.

Questions of ontology include whether Time is a concept and can be seen; whether we exist or live in a dream (Descartes); whether reality, in effect, exists (Berkeley); how existence is related to time and space; what is 'self' and what constitutes the identity of an object; and so forth.

At one time, and still in many quarters, there was a greater certainty about the world and about our cognitive ability as being a tool to discover certainty. With the postmodernist trend of believing in relativity of knowledge and erroneousness of science as methodology to prove 'reality' / 'truth' there is far less of an inclination to espouse any particular way as being 'true'. Rather, each possesses its own validity and truth based upon the social reality of its observer. According to Mead, for instance: "we do not assume there is a self to begin with. Self is not presupposed as a stuff out of which the world arises. Rather the self arises in the world" (Mead, 1982. 107). )

others such as Heidegger and Wittgenstein see ontological constructs as contingent on communication. It is our words that construct 'reality' and words are created from the particular world that we live in.


Epistemology refers to the science of knowledge or the philosophy o f the nature and scope of knowledge. Its subject matter includes the following:

What is knowledge

How can we know that we have acquired true and certain knowledge

How is knowledge acquired

There is a difference between the 3 categories of knowledge, namely 'knowledge that" (i.e. knowledge of something / a subject); knowledge how (i.e. how to do something);a nd knowledge by acquaintance (eg. Of a friend, place one lives in etc.). This essay deals with the first category of knowledge, namely " knowing that" (Knorr-Cetina, 1999 p.1. )

Epidemiologists are divided into two camps: externalists and internalists. Externalists argue that knowledge comes mainly form extraneous elements. Aristotle, Locke or Hume are an example in kind. They argued that our building blocks of knowledge come form our acquaintance and experience e with the outside world. Descartes and Kant (as well as Plato) are internalists who argued that knowledge is built (emerges) from internal categories and internal apparatus / mental heuristic. Chomsky is a latter example of someone who came to similar conclusions albeit about grammar.

Epistemology contains at least 4 different branches. These are:

Empiricism -- otherwise known as positivism or realism, where knowledge comes form careful testing and verification of extraneous material.

Idealism -- knowledge is a priori and innate; already existed before our birth and lodges in our reason.

Rationalism -- merges empiricism with idealism and asserts that we can use our cognitive abilities to arrive at a certain construct of knowledge

Constructivism -- is the branch of knowledge that asserts that there is no one sure way of knowing things, rather all is relative depending on the person's particular culture, way of thinking, and perspective (Raskin, 2002, 4)


Methodology refers to the set of tools and method that the person uses to test his/her ideas / philosophical perspective on the subject that he/she wishes to investigate.

There are two main and overlapping categories of methodology: Quantitative and Qualitative. Quantitative refers to laboratory-based, empirically-minded, statistically-calculated, mathematically- conducted studies that attempt to eliminate subjectivity as much as possible. These kind of studies are currently more accepted than qualitative. Its advantage lies in that it is generally more objective (or, a t least, tries to be). Its disadvantages consists of the fact that they preclude possibility of gaining rich detail.

This possibility of acquiring rich and exploratory details of a study is acquired through the qualitative trend (that include interviews, observation, text analysis and so forth). Sometimes the qualitative is used in order to formulate a theory that would then lead to a quantitative testing of the hypothesis. Other times, the researcher conducts a triangulated study where qualitative and quantitative are merged in the attempt to arrive at conclusions (Creswell, 2000).

There are many different theoretical paradigms. The articles featured in this essay present 3 approaches: feminist, positivist, and interpretive.

Definition of Positivist Paradigm, Interpretive Paradigm and Feminist Paradigm

Positivist Paradigm

The positivest paradigm believes that certain knowledge can only come about through the senses (Carr & Kemmis, 1986) and can be demonstrated to be causal in kind (Tribe, 2009 ). Its approach is purely scientific where conclusions are calculated on strict, mathematical principles and where its tools have to conform to certain scientific… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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