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Week 1: Philosophy of Science

Imagine that you are standing before the Grand Canyon. You want to photograph it, but you realize that one photo will not capture the expanse of what you see. You decide to take one shot, move slightly to one side, and take another photo, continuing this process numerous times. When you get home, you will take the many photos and connect them into one large panorama that represents what you saw.

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The existing research in your field may seem immense, much like the Grand Canyon. Maybe you think that one photo, even a combination of photos, doesn’t come close to capturing the experience that lies ahead. However, your initial idea of combining photos to create a panorama is an excellent first step because you have created a framework from which to work, much like you will do when developing a research mindset, which begins with knowledge of philosophy of science.

This week, you familiarize yourself with various philosophical orientations, including their underlying epistemological and ontological assumptions, to gain an understanding of the role of the philosophy of science in the research process.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Describe the topic of personal research interest
  • Explain epistemological and ontological assumptions of philosophical orientations
  • Explain the relationship between epistemological and ontological assumptions and research approaches
  • Apply APA Style to writing

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Learning Resources

Required Readings

Babbie, E. (2017). Basics of social research (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Chapter 1, “Human Inquiry and Science”

Burkholder, G. J., Cox, K. A., & Crawford, L. M. (2016). The scholar-practitioner’s guide to research design. Baltimore, MD: Laureate Publishing.
Chapter 2, “Philosophical Foundations and the Role of Theory in Research”

Required Media

Laureate Education (Producer). (2016a). Introduction to research design [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Note:  The approximate length of this media piece is 14 minutes.

Dr. Patton gives context to the research process, including a discussion about the terms epistemology and ontology.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2009e). Roundtable: Research methods [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Note:  The approximate length of this media piece is 26 minutes.

Walden University researchers discuss quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research approaches.

Discussion: Philosophy of Science

How does the lens from which you view the world shape your approach to research inquiry? Why is it important as a scholar-practitioner engaged in research to acknowledge your worldview?

The Learning Resources in this first week will help you answer these questions, and they will provide you with a foundation in the philosophy of science that will help you appreciate various research designs and methods. With this foundation, you will be encouraged to reflect on how your assumptions about the acquisition of truth and the nature of the world influence your approach to the research process.

For this Discussion, you will identify an area of interest for a possible research topic. As you read about the different philosophical orientations in this week’s readings, consider if one of these orientations most closely aligns with your worldview and a particular approach to research.

With these thoughts in mind:

By Day 4

Post a brief description of your topic of research interest. Next, state the philosophical orientation that reflects your worldview and explain the epistemological and ontological assumptions of this orientation. Then, explain how these assumptions lend themselves to one or more research approaches.

Be sure to support your Main Issue Post and Response Post with reference to the week’s Learning Resources and other scholarly evidence in APA Style.

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