Developing your philosophical stance as a PhD student: A case study


  • Damian Castanelli Monash University, Australia



knowledge; research design; education; methods; trends


Developing your philosophical stance can be daunting for new PhD candidates in health professional education. Contemplating the diversity of worldviews in the social sciences may be confronting for those of us from a biomedical background who are unfamiliar with the concepts and unused to metaphysical reflection. However, we need to explore the literature and reflect on our own underlying beliefs to maintain the cohesion of our research. Philosophical stance is generally taken to mean ontology and epistemology, or “what is real” and “how we know what we know”, so developing your philosophical stance involves clarifying your beliefs about the nature of reality and knowledge. Our philosophical stance will influence our research design, practice and reporting. If we are unaware or uncertain of our philosophical stance, we risk misalignment, which will detract from our research claims and undermine their impact. Our philosophical stance is, thus, crucial for ourselves and our audience. This article presents a case study of how my philosophical stance developed over my candidature. I share it to provide insights for others contemplating the same journey. In particular, this paper acknowledges and normalises how understanding and articulating that stance evolved over time.


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How to Cite

Castanelli, D. (2024). Developing your philosophical stance as a PhD student: A case study. Focus on Health Professional Education: A Multi-Professional Journal, 25(2), 130–143.



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