Suicidal Ideation among Adolescents

Scientific research is supported logically and empirically (Babbie, 2017) by either an objective or subjective paradigm. Within the framework of the objective paradigm, the researcher who is removed from the subjects views the reality as any material object (Laureate education, 2016a). As far as my topic of interest as concerned, the researcher involves in predicting suicidal ideation among adolescents and takes control over this process. In such a case, theory can be built on survey design and random sampling interventions with a view to exploring how the world works that makes suicidal thought and attempts possible as early as the onset of adolescence. My area of interest – suicidal ideation among adolescents – involves the relationship between personality traits, culture, family structure, peer friendship, education as causes of suicidal ideation in two distinct groups, early adolescents and middle adolescents. My area of expertise will be in a mixed quantitative and qualitative research, for I am interested in finding the answer to the question why adolescents in the current technology advanced and deeply divided world are at risk of suicidal ideation.

Epistemological Assumptions of Philosophical Orientations

Epistemology is deals with scientific knowing achieved by scientific inquiry (Babbie, 2017). As knowledge is accumulative by nature, it is grounded in the known on which new knowledge is built. Each field of knowledge develops seminal research that presents the conceptual framework that is shared by all researchers in this field as fundamental and basic. The replication of fundamental theoretical backgrounds in another context or situation is the task of a researcher who supports the authority in the selected field. Epistemologically, positivism and interpretivism are objectivist philosophical assumptions, whereas social constructivism and realism are subjectivist ones.

Scientific knowing has developed two main research designs, quantitative and qualitative. The former tests theory and hypothesis, determines relationship between variables, uses statistics, and shows testing. The latter creates research approach, asks what/who/when/where/why questions, utilizes non-numerical data, and develops conceptual framework. Most popular quantitative designs include correlation, quasi-experimental, experimental, factor analysis, and ex post facto ones. Qualitative designs include phenomenology, narrative, grounded theory, ethnography, and straight qualitative ones (Barbie, 2017). However, blended designs can be effectively used as well (Laureate education, 2016a), marked by the qualitative or quantitative dominant or interacting without triangulation. Epistemologically, the researcher possesses sources of knowing and is capable of acknowledging and controlling biases (Laureate education, 2016a).

Ontological Assumptions of Philosophical Orientations

Scientific theory is a construct that generalizes patterns in a systemic way. This can be achieved by using induction and deduction. Induction moves from specifics to generalization, whereas deduction moves from generalization to specifics (Babbie, 2017). Ontologically, human psychology is different from the rest of the world, so the scholar is engaged in exploring the nature of this psychological reality in human beings (Laureate education, 2016a). From an ontological stance, positivism is marked by direct realist, interpretivism and social constructionism– by idealist, social constructivist – idealist, and realism – depth realist philosophical assumptions.

With regard to my research, positivism responds to my worldview, for it establishes causal explanations by means of controlled measurement and deductive theory testing. The use of quantitative methods is typical of positivist research. Positivism restricts the studied reality to what can be observed.

Relationship between Epistemological and Ontological Assumptions and

Research Approaches

Scientific research studies the causal relationship between attributes (values) and variables (logical sets of variables) (Barbie, 2017). For example, suicidal ideation is a dependent variable that depends on a variety of independent variables such as sex, education, family structure, family history, and others. In terms of causality, the dependent variable is the result of the independent variable.

In blended research, the researcher utilizes not only measurable relationships between dependent and independent variables but also can examine lived experience of the studied phenomena. The “why” component of the dominant quantitative research helps identify the perspective, a new angle pf perception that otherwise cannot be predicted. Today’s research on suicidal ideation among adolescents mainly uses quantitative research. Cross-sectional designs are often utilized, although the researchers repeatedly acknowledge their limits.

The advantages of an integrated approach are many (Burkholder, Cox, & Crawford, 2016). First, such an approach helps combine indictive and deductive methods in a holistic way, avoiding concentrating either on specifics or the general. Second, the use of either quantitative or qualitative dominant facilitates to overcome the limits of purely quantitative or qualitative research, as well as effectively combine the objective and subjective paradigm in the study of one and the same problem area. The possibilities of explaining the emergence of suicidal ideation among adolescents as a global and contextually bound trend enhance when integrative approaches are applied.


Babbie, E. (2017). Basics of social research (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Burkholder, G. J., Cox, K. A., Crawford, L. M. (2016). The scholar-practitioner’s guide to research design. Baltimore, MD: Laureate Publishing.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2016a). Introduction to research design [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

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