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Ashford University Philosophical Orientation Discussion

Directions:  Respond to a classmate who holds a different philosophical orientation than you and share an insight.


The topic of research that is of interest is the impact of Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) on students who write the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT). The OSSLT is a standardized test required for graduation from high school in Ontario, Canada.

The philosophical orientation that reflects a personal world view is relativism as it recognizes that experiences influence an individual’s world views (Burkholder, p.19). When faced with the question, “What do I have to believe about the world and about human beings in order for me to accept or use this theory?”, epistemological and ontological assumptions of the relativism orientation relate to a personal belief that there are multiple realities of what literacy is including a person’s culture, life circumstance and period of time in history (Burkholder, pp. 27-29). Additionally, multiple realities regarding high stakes testing as an accurate method to measure literacy skills exist and multiple realities exist regarding the literacy skill and training of students with SLD.

Relativism theory paradigm deserves consideration as it seeks to provide an explanation that the life circumstances of students with SLD have a disadvantaged position as a group during standardized assessments (Babbie, p. 58). Mixed method research using an interview method would allow the researcher to gather in depth information from formal school assessment documentation and examine variables that impact the outcome of the OSSLT on students with SLD.  Mixed method research, interview, and document analysis to conduct this research would best align with relativist philosophical orientation.


Babbie, E. R. (2017). Human inquiry and science. In The basics of social research (7th ed., pp.

2-29). Cengage Learning.

Burkholder, G. J., Cox, K. A., Crawford, L. M., & Hitchcock, J. H. (2019). Introduction to

research. In Research design and methods: An applied guide for the scholar-practitioner (pp. 3-11). SAGE Publications.

Burkholder, G. J., Cox, K. A., Crawford, L. M., & Hitchcock, J. H. (2019). Philosophical

foundations and the role of theory in research. In Research design and methods: An applied guide for the scholar-practitioner (pp. 13-29). SAGE Publications.

Ejnavarzala, H. (2019). Epistemology–ontology relations in social research: A review.   

Sociological Bulletin, 68(1), 94-104.

Laureate Education. (2009). Roundtable: Research methods [Video].

Laureate Education. (2016). Introduction to research [Video].                                                                                           


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