Step 2: Social reality is not simply captured by description or ideas, but is richer and deeper

russian mind‘Social reality is not simply captured by description or ideas, but is richer and deeper’ (Malcolm Williams in Letherby et al., 2013: 105). Reality is stratified and our theories about the social objects we investigate refer to actual features and properties of the real world. These properties include real and relatively enduring mechanisms, which Roy Bhaskar (2008: 221 – parentheses in the original) considers to be ‘nothing but the powers of things. Things, unlike events (which are changes in them) persist’. Powers, liabilities, and dispositions are an essential part of any realist explanation of sampling in qualitative research. These have causal efficacy, they have an effect on behaviour, and they make a difference.

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