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Table 1 Defining epistemology and qualitative research

From: Quality assurance of qualitative research: a review of the discourse

Definition Relating to quality
Epistemology reflects the relationship between the inquirer and that which is to be known [60]. An epistemological approach entails assumptions about what is to be considered knowledge and the appropriate ways to construct or produce it. Epistemology is crucial to defining what one considers constitutes quality in research: research questions, methods and interpretations all depend upon epistemological assumptions.
Qualitative epistemological approaches identified in debates around quality:
Postpositivism/realism Interpretivism/constructionism
Social reality exists but can never be fully apprehended, only approximated [18]. Methods must be systematic and rigorous [45]. Reality does not exist; knowledge is constructed through the research process and interpreted through the researcher's own values and assumptions [27].