Axiology is a branch of philosophy that studies judgements about the value[1]. The term axiology is derived from the Greek and means ‘value’ or ‘worth’. Axiology is engaged with assessment of the role of researcher’s own value on all stages of the research process.[2]. It is a relatively recent addition to the area of research philosophy.

Axiology primarily refers to the ‘aims’ of the research. This branch of the research philosophy attempts to clarify if you are trying to explain or predict the world, or are you only seeking to understand it.[3]

In simple terms, axiology focuses on what do you value in your research. This is important because your values affect how you conduct your research and what do you value in your research findings.

The table below illustraties the axiology of major research philosopies and highlights relevant methods of data collection.

Axiology Popular data collection techniques
Positivism Research is undertaken in a value-free way, the researcher is independent from the data and maintains an objective stance Highly structured, large samples, measurement, quantitative can also use qualitative
Realism Research is value laden; the researcher is biased by world views, cultural experiences and upbringings. These effect research findings Methods chosen must fit the subject matter, quantitative or qualitative
Interpretivism Research is value bound, the researcher is part of what is being researched, cannot be separated and so will be subjective Small samples, in-depth investigations, qualitative
Pragmatism Values play a large role in interpreting results, the researcher adopting both objective and subjective points of view Mixed or multiple method designs, quantitative and qualitative

Axiology of research philosophies and relevant data collection techniques[4]

In your dissertation, you can add a paragraph or two discussing the relevance of axiology in your research. For example, you have chosen positivism research positivism research philosophy, you can state that axiology of your study is value-free and the research is independent from the data.

Alternatively, if your research philosophy is realism, you will need to state that axiology of your study is value laden. In this case you will have to acknowledge that your worldview may have affected your research findings. The role of value is greatest in pragmatism research philosophy and you have to stress this fact in your paper if pragmatism is the philosophy you are following.

My e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Dissertation in Business Studies: a step by step assistance contains discussions of theory and application of research philosophy. The e-book also explains all stages of the research process starting from the selection of the research area to writing personal reflection. Important elements of dissertations such as research philosophyresearch approachresearch designmethods of data collection and data analysis are explained in this e-book in simple words.

John Dudovskiy


[1] Saunders, M., Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. (2012) “Research Methods for Business Students” 6th edition, Pearson Education Limited

[2] Li, Y. (2016) “Expatriate Manager’s Adaption and Knowledge Acquisition: Personal Development in Multi-National Companies in China” Springer Publications

[3] Lee, N. & Lings, I. (2008) “Doing Business Research: A Guide to Theory and Practice” SAGE Publications

[4] Table adapted from Saunders et al. (2009)

[5] Carnaghan, I. (2013) “Philosophical Assumptions for Qualitative Research” Available at: