Ontology, epistemology and their connection in a research context

What is ontology and how is it relevant to research?

Ontology is a field of philosophy, specifically the branch known as metaphysics, which deals with what one may consider to be the most pressing question in regards to our existence: What is it to ‘be’? What things actually ‘exist’ in this world and what things are actually figments of our or of a wider groups construction or imagination? Specifically, when considered within the bounds of the research field, we use the philosophical field of ontology to consider whether reality as we know it is a solid, definite experience that can be measured – a Positivists position – or if our understanding of reality is something that changes and morphs over time, instead of staying in a singular static setting – A constructivists position. Who is to say that one persons interpretation of the facts before them is more or less equal to the reality in which they exist? Ontology specifically relates to the interpretation of social constructs such as the  The consideration of the ontology of a research investigation can be of considerable importance depending upon the matter which is being considered.

What is epistemology and how is it relevant to research?

Whilst ontology poses the wider question of if reality can be considered to be a static, non-changing constant or one that is modified through the perception of the individual or by the collective understanding of human society within it, epistemology hones in further in regards to identifying where our basis for accepting facts and knowledge as a whole to be true.  Within the scientific field, one branch of epistemology reigns supreme – The emperical. Emperical epistemology states that the basis for any knowledge must lie in cold, hard ‘facts’ – That is, there must be a wealth of emperical, normally of quantatative nature, facts that can be used to prove the hypothesis put forward. Whilst emperical epistemology is by far the most used and, arguably, the most tangible and useable in research endeavours, the potential value of other forms of epistemology must be considered.

Intuitive knowledge, for example, is knowledge that is gleaned from the emotions and background of the individual experiencing the situation rather than concrete data supporting them. Intuition, faith and personal-beliefs can be thought to come from this position. Following on from beliefs is that of authoritarian knowledge, which is where the individual takes their understanding of knowledge from authorative sources, such as books, academic papers, holy books, supreme powers and so on. This can be of use to a researcher in the perspective of secondary research but should always be considered against personal emperical knowledge to avoid bias. Finally, logical knowledge stands as another example of an epistemology that is found heavily within the philosophical disciplines. This involves the usage of logical reasoning to create new knowledge out of this new found understanding. Often fundemental in the very development of fields, this type of epistomology can serve as the basis for further emperical research.

What is the connection between ontology and epistemology in a research context?

It can be thought that epistemology is a further development of the ideas put forward by the individuals understanding of ontology – To be able to understand where knowledge comes from, one must know what reality its self is first so that they may make the conclusion in regards to how they may find understanding of it. For example, should a research investigation be conducted in the field of electrical engineering, it would be expected that the research proposal will be working from the position that reality is but one reality that can be observed and recorded without fault, as electrical concepts and the field of mechanical physics on the whole can be shown to do. As such, it would then make logical sense that the epistemology for the investigation would be based around the study and collection of emperical data so that they may prove their hypothesis in a positivist fashion.

On the other hand, should an investigation in the field of educational psychology be undertaken, it will be considerably more likely that the researcher will factor in the fact that their primary sources of knowledge in regards to their research will come from other individuals who will all have different interpretations of the world around them that simply won’t come out as clean, emperical data. As such, the epsitemology for the research must be instead focused upon the collection of qualitative data and the processing of that information in a far broader sense than is possible with strictly emperical results.

Proposal Fundementals – Private cloud redundant relational database cluster

So! I think I’ve actually managed to hash out a general idea for my project! Having sat down and considered the particular areas that I have existing strengths in and the areas that I am interested in expanding my knowledge of whilst still being doable in a restricted time frame, I have been able to formulate a basic fundamental project goal for me to follow in regards to the project:

To develop an PaaS cloud environment capable of hosting a redundant MySQL cluster with scaling. All possible elements of the build will be open source to identify the versatility of open source software across the cloud computing and production database spheres.

As outlined above and following on from my prior blog where I was bouncing potential ideas around, this project will be done with a specific emphasise being placed upon open-source software being used throughout. At the current time, without having done an in-depth analysis of the options available, I will be running either MySQL (About MySQL, 30.17) or PostgreSQL (About, 30.17). From a purely interest-focused perspective, i’m seriously considering working with PostgreSQL as I have not yet had the pleasure to work with an object-relational database up until this time.

Considering that I will be working quite heavily with both infrastructure and with database materials, I will be speaking to both Todd and Mark regarding assistance with this project. At this point in time, I’m leaning towards asking Mark to be the project supervisor due to the heavier requirements upon infrastructure for the project than that of database specifics. In regards to the expected outcomes of the project, I expect to finish the project with a fully operating, redundant master-slave database setup with test data operating in container clusters courtesy of a Kubernetes managed container-based PaaS cloud. As well as that, I would like to have a log of analytic data showing the performance of the system over a period of at least a month before presentation of my findings.

With the general outline of the project confirmed, I’ll now be focusing on identifying the project goals, the expected design of the project and the required activities, an identification of any potential ethical concerns and limitations/requirements regarding personal skill and hardware/software requirements.


About. (n.d.). Retrieved May 30, 2017, from https://www.postgresql.org/about/

About MySQL. (n.d.). Retrieved May 30, 2017, from https://www.mysql.com/about/

Fundemental Questions: What is Research, its purpose and the importance of Accreditation

For this blog, I will be answering a set of core questions that must be considered about the concept of research its self, the importance of research within both the IT field and in personal development, what plagarism is and why it is antithetical to the very concept of research.

What is Research?

Research, as far as I personally understand it, is the in-depth investigation of a clearly defined research question (whether that be a hypothesis or a broad area on inquest) via a systemic breakdown of the question field, which culminates in the delivery of information to other persons about the investigation undertook and the conclusion in regards to the stated hypothesis. Research, due to its systemic nature, is primairly focused on the evaluation of the specific area of interest, whether that be through grouping of secondary research or the creation of new data through a range of different qualatative and quantatative measures (polling, case studies, etc) and the presentation of this information, usually in a self-contained digestable measure such as publishment in a research journal or as an independent paper.

Do you think you will ever need research skills?

The idea of ‘research skills’ are essentially the same skills that anyone in our Western democratic society should possess – The ability to infer an understanding upon a question through the usage of their own analytical ability. With the rising prevelance of openly fradulent information from orthodox and unorthodox media organizations, the ability to be able to independently investigate a matter of concern no matter how big nor small is inherently utilizing the same set of skills that someone involved in a formal research setting. For example, being able to collate secondary research and implement quantatative research on a hypothesis is not unlike being able to collate a range of opinons and hard information on a matter raised by a colleague or media outlet.

As well as the importance of research skills in personal development matters, the ability to be able to research within the field of IT is of utmost importance, due to the speed with which the field develops and changes. To be unable to research and utilize new and exciting technologies over the period of our careers in the IT field is to doom us to an extremely short time within the field – Whilst fundemental truths about our technology will exist for some time, it is an inquisitive and focus mind that will keep us going into the future, not a set of rote-memorised facts that we picked up in our three years studying.

What do you think a research journal is and who is it written for?

A research journal (otherwise known as an academic journal) is a formal academic publication that specializes in a particular field of scientific theory and is charactarised by the peer-reviewed or referred nature of the articles presented inside. Journals are created to spread the information contained within with the researchers studying in the covered fields, serving as a form of information proliferation. Research journals are primairly written for academics and as such the writing of the articles in these journals tends to be in purely technical terms, with jargon and concepts used within them without much background information.

What is plagiarism?

Plagarism is the concept of taking the writings, ideas or concepts, as depending on the nature of the writing its self, of another author and failing to cite them for this information – In theory, taking these ideas and proclaiming yourself to be the author of them instead of the rightful author. Plagiarism requires the intent to steal these ideas and is not, on the whole, able to be done through accident, as the odds of replicating writings to the level to merit accusations of plagiarism is miniscule.

Why is it important to avoid it?

The primary reason behind research is to establish the truth of the stated hypothesis through the usage of primary or secondary research, as depending on the type of research being undertaken. As such, using previously written findings and using them without accrediation to their original author serves to do nothing in expanding the understandings of the researched field and does not allow the reader to look further into the origin of this information which may provide further understanding into the subject.

Development of a Platform-as-a-Service cloud system – A prospective project idea

Over the course of this semester I have been musing over the potential project that I could do for PRJ701 in the following semester, as well as serving as the practice run-up assignment for RES701. Whilst, due to my selected major, the general nature of the project was always going to be focused in on that of networking, server operation and infrastructure as whole, I was still uncertain as to what, specifically, I would be looking to do for this project. However, following the evaluation of two papers, one to a minor degree covering the usage of OpenStack and its comparative performance as compared to non-virtualized hardware usage (Grzonka, D. (2015)) and the more in-depth analysis of the usage of containerization technology in PaaS cloud systems (Pahl, C. (2015)), I believe I have come to a general idea regarding the field of interest I will pursue.

Specifically, I have decided that I would like to setup a model PaaS system using spare TALOS architecture (having already briefly spoken with Mark in regards to this being a plausible scenario at this point in time) with containerisation technology utilized for the usage of n-tier (most likely 3-tier) software. For the infrastructure side of the project, I will be utilizing OpenStack (What is Openstack, 2017) for the pooling of resources and the creation of stacks, Docker (What is Docker, 2017) as the container engine and, at least at this time, Kubernetes (What is Kubernetes?, 2017) for automation elements of containers and the application side as a whole. As for the application side of the project, I am still unsure as to what I will be using to showcase the usage of this technology, especially considering that the setup of the infrastructure side of this project will take a considerable amount of time alone. As such, I may consider the usage of previously created 2/3-tier architecture software as a showcase, with modifications done by myself to make the software more susceptible to operation in a containerized cloud environment.

With a general idea of what I wish to do with myself during the project, the question now becomes how can I take the components above and combine them into a working project goal, the specific relation as to how this project will further my infrastructure major and to potentially make as start on the background to this project as a whole.


What is Docker. (2017, 05 03). Retrieved from Docker: https://www.docker.com/what-docker

What is Kubernetes? (2017, 26 10). Retrieved from Kubernetes: https://kubernetes.io/docs/concepts/overview/what-is-kubernetes/

What is Openstack. (2017, 05 15). Retrieved from Openstack: https://www.openstack.org/software/

Pahl, C. (2015). Containerization and the paas cloud. IEEE Cloud Computing, 2(3), 24-31.

Grzonka, D. (2015). The analysis of openstack cloud computing platform: Features and performance. Journal of Telecommunications and Information Technology, (3), 52.


The question of Credibility and Validity – Do the means match the hypothesis?

When considering anything that may be used to further your understanding in a academic or personal development sense, it is critical that the information you are considering is both credible and of a valid nature. Does the information provided seem plausible on the basis of prior held knowledge? Does the author and publisher appear of credible nature? And do the methods, epistemology and ontology all make sense together? To substantiate these concerns, there are four key areas put forward:

Does the epistemology match the ontology?

In layman terms, do the means used to obtain data and process it into information match the question being asked? If the research question put forward relies heavily upon the usage of opinions or potentially-biased results from other people, it would be considered sensible that a primarily qualitative approach to the assessment of the question would be used.

Was the method followed sufficently rigorous?

Is the case for the usage of the selected research method made well and are the provided results reproducible in similar settings by another party? Do the conclusions for the research in question make sense with the provided explanation and emperical evidence? And does it appear that the methods utilized have worked well?

Who did the work/research? Do they seem credible?

The ethos of the individual responsible for the research. Are they qualified in the field they have conducted research in, do they have prior papers or articles within this particular field, has their work been cited by other known names in the field?

Where and when the work was made public/published?

Is the method of publication reputable? Is this information still relevant considering its date of release and potential publication of following papers in the field? Of particular importance, has the research been peer-reviewed by others in the field?


RES701 – Two Academic Paper reviews

For the academic paper review, I have picked two papers that I will be doing the basic breakdown as requested in the week eight class notes.

Paper One – Containerisation and the PaaS Cloud

Title: Containerisation and the PaaS Cloud

Author/s: Claus Pahl

Citation: Pahl, C. (2015). Containerization and the paas cloud. IEEE Cloud Computing, 2(3), 24-31.

How I found it: Google Scholar, with the keywords ‘containerization’ and ‘cloud’.

What type of paper: IEEE magazine paper.

Why I believe it is an academic paper: The paper is from a well respected computing magazine (IEEE Cloud Computing Magazine), the author is a major figure in the Irish computing research field and the article fits the standard research paper format.

How well it fits the structure of a research paper: The paper fits all expected requirements for a research paper, including a clear title, author, abstract, index terms, a clear introduction, ending observations, acknowledgement, clear references and a following biography.

Number of references: 12

Number of citations for the paper on Google Scholar: 37

Link: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7158965/

Interest in reading: Having read the abstraction, the paper seems to be a breakdown of what the requirements are of facilitating applications through cloud platforms in a PaaS system. I’m currently considering a project involving openstack hosting of a PaaS system, so I would be extremely interested in sitting down and reading what Claus Pahl has to say on the matter.

Paper Two – The Analysis of OpenStack Cloud Computing Platform: Features and Performance

Author: Daniel Grzonka

Citation: Grzonka, D. (2015). The analysis of openstack cloud computing platform: Features and performance. Journal of Telecommunications and Information Technology, (3), 52.

How article was sourced: Google Scholar, keywords ‘openstack’ ‘analysis’.

What type of article is it: Journal paper, specifically the Journal of Telecommunications and Information Technology, a Polish government backed journal.

Why it is an academic article: The article contains a clear abstraction, keywords and introduction, the conclusions and summary explain the findings of the paper well, it is well referenced and the writer appears to be a legitimate PhD student in a major Polish university.

How well does it fit the layout of a academic article: The article contains all of the expected points of an article as far as its layout is concerned.

Number of References: 22

Number of Citations in Google Scholar: 6

Link: http://yadda.icm.edu.pl/yadda/element/bwmeta1.element.baztech-488220e4-2a6b-4bf2-806c-d28b9851f5ae/c/JTIT_3_2015_Grzonka.pdf

Interest in reading: Due to the subject nature and my interest in undertaking my final project as some form of openstack or other open source cloud infrastructure software, I am very interested in reading through the rest of the article at some point in the near future.