"We don't see things the way that they are; we see them as we are," is a quote that caught my attention about 7 years ago, at an exhibit at the Telus Spark Centre. Interestingly enough, shortly after seeing that quote, I came across a school project that I had done when I was about 11 years old that included that same quote. I realized it was something that resonated with me not just in that moment, but at my core.
As we have reflected on our epistemological positions, this thought has resurfaced again. I hope that as I grow as a researcher, I will be able to see things objectively, as they are. That being said, as we have discussed in our MALAT courses, who we are and how we think does influence how we see things. Understanding how we validate knowledge leads us to research that is complimented by our epistemological positions. For example, someone that has an objectivist epistemology will likely be more drawn to research that studies quantitative data, whereas someone that views knowledge from a constructivist or cognitive view may prefer research that is grounded in qualitative data or mixed methods. Also, being aware of our epistemological position also allows us to consider our own biases. Being aware of our biases may lead us to approach the research in a way that will balance out our biases. Recognizing that we all view things differently, also allows us to be open to other perspectives and consider them as valid knowledge.
In research, we may not actually see things the way we are, but the way we see things is influenced by who we are and needs to be balanced with providing evidence. The fundamental question of “how do we know that?” needs to be answered. It is relevant,however, in the sense that we see things through our own lens, which is based on who we are and how we view knowledge.