What is Ontology and Epistemology and How is It Relevant to Research?

This blog post is for my Research class, where I need to explain ‘What is Ontology and Epistemology and How is It Relevant to Research?’

Epistemology is the type of relationship the researcher has with the research. Ontology is how the researcher sees the truth, So in short, your Ontology dictates your Epistemology, which dictates your Methodology, which then dictates your Methods.

Ontology is the philosophical study of nature and the relations of being, existence or reality. Questions of ontology are questions about reality you would talk to a good friend about at 3 am. Some examples of these questions are;

What is existence? What is a thing? What is the meaning of being? These questions really are hard questions to answer quickly and don’t tend to have a simple answer.

In research, philosophy Ontology is “The science or study of being” [1] Ontology is questioning if social entities need to be seen as objective or subjective.

There are two types of Ontology that are pretty much opposites, Realism and Relativism.


This is the belief that one truth exists, and that the truth does not change. The truth is found using what is called Objective Measurements to find the truth.

So based on the belief of the researcher in terms of reality, this dictates what sort of relationship the researcher will have with the study carried out. So again, there are researchers who study in an objective way so that their beliefs will not have an impact on how the information is gathered. This is known as having an outside view and falling into the realism category.


Relativists believe that multiple realities exist, and what is real all depends on the meaning of truth. Truth can evolve based on experiences over time.

A subjective approach to reality is interacting with others to find out what they think the truth is, so instead of taking an outside approach, they get right into it. These researchers believe that truth is created by experiences. also known as Relatives. These experiences are interviews and surveys and looking for a pattern within those to come up with your final result.


In this blog, I explain how research all depends on the person conducting the research, as every person has a different look on life and how information should be gathered. Ontology is your look on life, in terms of what is true. Epistemology is how you believe information should be gathered for research to be considered true.



Post Author: Nicholas Wilkinson

I am a 3rd year Networking Major in my IT BIT degree. I have a passion for Cloud Computing and IOT devices.

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