Researching Objects

Knowledge refers to the idea of how we know the world around us, it is socially shared, historically constructed and culturally diverse. The media is instrumental in constructing knowledge through the complex and changing representations. The media is also ideological, it creates the ideas about other objects. Research is the production of knowledge, and how the research is practiced shapes the kind of knowledge that is produced. Research is constructed through methodology, ontology and epistemology. Methodology is the study of methods and is how the researcher sees the world, from a feminist to a left wing perspective. Scientific method discovered lots of ideas and there was the assumption that the same practices could be applied to the social world. Humans have also constructed intelligence, which is a circular argument because the measure of intelligence was defined by white, upper class men. However the natural science model began to be questioned in the later half of the 20th century, this was due to the visualisation of war and moral catastrophes.

However when detached from the scientific model, there is the baggage of being human, as humans as the subject and the object. The researcher has to consider how their positions are shaped by their location in the world, what we can say and what we can do and how this is shaped by culture, language, religion, politics and economy. The role of text within discourse should also be considered, what is being represented and how the world is being represented. The researcher must also consider their own lived experience, how we experience the world around us as a sensory and embodied agent. The term epistemology means to know and what we can know. Objectivism proposes that knowledge exists apart from the consciousness of human knowledge and constructivism proposes that knowledge exists because we create the understandings of the world. Ontology is concerned with the object that the researcher is studying. There are also discussions around realism and relativism; relativism is our perception to our perspective and realism proposes the object exists independently from our understanding of it. Extreme relativism such as Jean Baudrillard discusses proposes concepts such as The Gulf War did not actually take place because we as the public only saw the representation from the media, however this was a very controversial idea because people did fight and die in the war.

 

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