In research, what is the difference between ontological and epistemological?


I’m starting to do my research proposal for my Master’s and cannot find an explanation in simple terms. Any help is appreciated!

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In philosophy the simplest way to put it is this:

Ontology is about what is. What exists. What’s real.

Epistemology is about how we know anything.

If we ask “Is there gold on Mars?” there’s a yes or a no to that. The gold exists or it doesn’t even if I don’t know which. That would be ontology. But there’s a different question of “How do we know if there’s gold on Mars or not?”. That’s epistemology.