Step 1: Review the definitions of Ontology and Epistemology and have them nearby when doing this work (e.g., post-it note near you).
Step 2: On another piece of paper, write the word Ontology at the top and below this heading, write two words: Truth and truth. Use this paper for step 5.
Step 3: Next, on a piece of paper, write the heading Epistemology, and under this heading, make a list of every epistemological perspective you learned about in Nurs 801 as well as any others you have learned in other philosophy or research methods courses (e.g., empiricism, logical positivism, hermeneutics, critical social theory). Keep this list nearby for step 6.
Step 4: Gather the articles you plan to use for your scholarly paper. There should be several more articles gathered for scholarly paper #2 than were used in scholarly paper #1. Articles should center on one core phenomenon (using multiple phenomena or concepts will create a much more laborious and complicated process). If using paper versions of these articles, place them all in a pile. If using virtual copies, either 1) create a grid to document the following process, or 2) enable the tools that can mark up an electronic copy of an article (such as to make a comment or place a note on the electronic copy). If creating a grid, the grid should list a sufficient amount of identifying information as needed (e.g., authors, title, etc.) to ensure you know which article was evaluated.
Step 5: Determine the ontological position of each article. Note the article s position at the top of each article. Suggested wording for this is to use the words Truth and truth at the top of each article.
The word Truth using a capital T indicates the authors are seeking to determine or communicate about a single truth. The authors are making an assumption that there is only a single reality and they are out to study that reality. The authors are seeking The Truth.
The word truth with a small t would be used to indicate that the authors are approaching their phenomenon or study from the ontological position that there is more than one truth (i.e., that reality can contain multiple truths). The authors may be communicating through their approach that they are attempting to find or determine a truth or multiple truths, not The Truth.
Step 6: Using the same articles labeled previously, identify the epistemology that article used to develop the knowledge they present in the article. Place the name of that epistemology at the top of the article next to the Truth/truth indicator.
Step 7: Collate and organize your findings. Over time, you may document the philosophical underpinnings of dozens of articles, so you may need to group articles using some organizational method (e.g., by epistemology, by concept etc.). You may need to create a new table or grid to help you organize your findings. Determine a way of doing this that works best for you. Consult with your colleagues for suggestions.
Step 8: Begin to draw some logical conclusions about the philosophical underpinnings of your phenomenon based upon your findings. Answer the following questions in your scholarly paper:
What is the primary ontological position of scholarly writing about your phenomenon (e.g., Truth or truth) Can you discern why one position is dominant If both positions are represented in the literature, indicate this and discuss why you think this may be. You may want to consider the history of development of your phenomenon and what was occurring in Nursing, science, and national policy at the time (if known).
What epistemological perspectives are represented among writings about your chosen phenomenon What perspective(s) is/are most common
What are the strengths of the most common epistemological approach(es) What are the weaknesses
How have the ontological and epistemological positions taken affected advances in theory, research, and practice in Nursing and/or in health care of your phenomenon
Step 9: Only once you have an understanding of the above knowledge, then you can you examine the degree to which your beliefs about Truth (ontology) and how to approach creating knowledge within that truth (i.e., epistemology) align or diverge from the development of your chosen phenomenon in the literature.
In your paper, identify your own ontological beliefs about reality. In other words, answer the question: Do you believe in Truth or truth Briefly, explain why you hold that position and what influences in your life contributed to your belief.
Take a position about your personal philosophical beliefs relative to the beliefs used in the body of literature represented by your phenomenon. Answer the question: When studying your phenomenon in the future, do you intend to take a philosophical position that will align with or diverge from the perspectives represented by the existing body of literature Why How will your choice help advance Nursing science in your chosen phenomenon
Total length of the scholarly paper may range from approximately 10 to 15 pages.