About this Research Study

Guiding Epistemology and Ontology

Guiding Epistemology and Ontology

The guiding epistemology and ontology for this research project is based on both social constructionism and social constructivism. Although a lot of research on ICTs and education take a constructivist approach to learning and social inquiry (see Jonassen, 2006), I find this positioning inadequate to examine the construction of knowledge in an information society where “everything is miscellaneous” (Weinberger, 2007). Constructivism tends to focus on the individual and is concerned with how individuals construct and make sense of their world (Burr, 2003). Social constructionism and social constructivism, on the other hand, have a social rather than an individual focus, looking not only at how individuals construct their reality, but also considering how groups of individuals communicate and negotiate their views and perspectives regarding individual and shared or intersubjective realities (Marshall, Kelder, & Perry, 2005). Taking the position that we construct social reality socially through investigation, deliberation and discourse (Figure 2), it follows that multiple views of a particular reality can and will emerge. All knowledge claims, then, are a product of and contingent on a particular cultural and historical situation. They are thus local, provisional and fleeting; and contrast strongly with the atemporal and universal knowledge claims and models of the positivists and logical empiricists (Marshall et al., 2005, p. 2). The idea that knowledge and reality are constructed through dynamic interaction with others in order to create shared understandings is fundamental to the theoretical positioning and framework of this research project.

I have developed a slide presentation to compare and contrast social constructionism and social constructivism, which can be viewed below.