How Philosophical Assumptions Relate to Substance Use Disorders (SUDs)
Ultimately, there are four philosophical assumptions related to research. The first is ontology, which is how research relates to reality and its specific characteristics. As researchers and scientists conduct qualitative research, they are required to gather ideas from multiple realities. Various researchers will support various realities, and the individuals who are studied and the readers of the study, are required to do the same. In other words, while studying participants, qualitative researchers will conduct the study with the intention of reporting from the perspective of all realities. The evidence of a multitude of realities should include utilizing various forms of evidence in terms of themes. These themes will use the specific, actual words of the participants, ultimately presenting varying viewpoints. For instance, as writers complete a phenomenology, it is suggested they report the difference in experiences between individual participants. Some psychologists suggest that the ontological approach is less relevant to the research approach, but more profound during the data analysis phase (Baskarada & Koronios, 2017).
The second assumption, or the epistemological assumption, means conducting qualitative research that allows researchers and scientists to get as close as possible to the research participants. The subjective evidence is compiled according to independent, individual viewpoints. This viewpoint focuses on “known knowledge,” and this knowledge is based upon the subjective experiences of the individual participants. One of the major constituents of this research assumption is that the researcher must be immersed within the field, so to speak, collecting data from the participants from where they operate, live, or work. These critical contexts help researchers better understand the participant’s reports and anecdotal experiences. Therefore, the longer the duration the researchers remain in the field with the participants, the more they learn and understand in terms of firsthand experience. For instance, great ethnography means longer stays within the research environment. Some researchers suggest the epistemological approach produces the highest quality, evidence-based data available (Joseph et al., 2009).
The third assumption, axiology, corresponds to an acknowledgement of values within research. While all researchers are able to offer value to a study, qualitative researchers can make their values further known in a study. The axiological assumption suggests a researcher can better implement their values in a study, allowing the researcher to admit and adopt the values and true natures of a study. They will actively report their perspectives and values, as well as their personal biases, as they apply to the data gathered from within the field. In short, it is imperative to understand how researchers implement their personal assumptions throughout their research in order to best understand the research and its resulting data itself. One example could be found within an interpretive biography, where a researcher’s presence is more apparent in the text, and the research reveals their stories and representations of the research in the best interpretation from the author’s perspective. In this assumption, the author is just as much of a subject as the study itself. Many journals reveal meta data which suggests that implementing researcher’s values within a study can improve overall project research (Biedenbach & Jacobsson, 2016).
The methodology assumption is characterized and summarized as inductive and surfacing. It is constructed through the researcher’s direct experience while collecting the data. The researcher’s analysis of the data also plays a role in the emergence of understanding. In a simpler sense, the researcher utilizes inductive analysis to formulate data, ideas, and theories. These developments are constructed from scratch, rather than following preconstructed theories or by forming derivative thoughts or patterns. Usually the collection strategy (of the data) is determined far before the study to include dynamic questions, which will change throughout the study to better assess and probe the developing information. While much of the methodology approach infers entirely original research conclusions (free from derivatives), the methodology approach still requires some level of framework to conduct appropriate surveying and achieve viable data (Walters, 2001).
Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) is the development of a reoccurring, habitual use of substance. Usually this habitual use is abusive in nature. SUDs can form from the regular use of almost any substance, including such substances as nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, or any other mind-altering (or psychoactive) substance. Usually, SUDs occurs after an individual is subjected to any number of risk factors. One of the most prevalent risk factors for developing SUDs includes exposure to SUDs-oriented peer pressure. It is both easy and difficult to study SUDs, as almost every individual is different, but almost all individuals afflicted by SUDs share some common traits.
In terms of Substance Use Disorders (SUDs), these four philosophical assumptions can be applied in combination or independently, with great success in research data. It is possible to approach a study with an ontological approach by understanding the independent realities of each participant, especially including their environmental factors. In terms of taking an epistemological approach, it is possible for a researcher to better immerse themselves in the study, for example by directly interviewing participants who are struggling with the condition in a treatment facility. When it comes to applying an axiological approach, a researcher can relay and reveal their specific intentions and values in their research. For instance, a study which hypothesizes that religion may be a deterrent to substance use could be directly implemented into the study from the start and openly communicated to the participants and data analysts. Finally, the methodology approach would make sense in terms of SUDs research if a researcher forgoes prior theories, and derives their conclusions based solely on the new data which is gathered during the study.
Baskarada, S., and Koronios, A., 2017. A philosophical discussion of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research in social science, Philosophy of Social Science, University of South Australia, pp 3-4, doi: 10.1108/QRJ-D-17-00042
Biedenbach, T., and Jacobsson, M., (2016). The Open Secret of Values: The Roles of Values and Axiology in Project Research, Project Management Journal, 47(3), 139–155, doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/875697281604700312
Joseph, S., Beer, C., Clarke, D., Forman, A., Pickersgill, M., Swift, J., Taylor, J. and Tischler, V., (2009). Qualitative Research into Mental Health: Reflections on Epistemology, Mental Health Review Journal, 14(1), 36-42, doi: https://doi.org/10.1108/13619322200900006 Walters, C., (2001). Assumptions of Qualitative Research Methods, Perspectives In Learning, 2 (1), Retrieved from https://csuepress.columbusstate.edu/pil/vol2/iss1/14