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Photo methods for qualitative research in nursing: an ontological and epistemological perspective

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The use of photo research methods is influenced by underlying ontological and epistemological assumptions. Variant assumptions about reality and knowledge converge to conceive a relationship between the knower and what can be known. These assumptions provide the rationale for decided ways of engaging participants in the process of scientific inquiry. In this paper, we examine how perspectives of realism and relativism may shape epistemological understandings and influence type and use of photo methods in qualitative research. Based on deliberations about underlying ontological and epistemological assumptions and related strengths and challenges of photo methods, we assert that photo methods contribute to the development of knowledge that both matters to participants and informs nursing practice.

Keywords: epistemology; ontology; photo methods; realism; relativism; research

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Alberta, Canada

Publication date: July 1, 2008


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