Category Archives: generative mechanisms

Zigzagging and proud of being the infidels of science

This is the text of my keynote introductory talk at the State of the Art of Realist Methodologies, (The Leeds Club, Leeds, UK 4th November 2015). The slides associated with this talk may be found here: methods and metaphors nde Our … Continue reading

Posted in abduction, depth ontology, generative mechanisms, realism, refining theory | Leave a comment

I’m not dancing, I’m zigzagging

A second outing for a methodological investigation considering the metaphors we use to describe qualitative researching and the metaphors participants use to describe their experiences. My intention is to move from a metaphor of dance to a metaphor of zigzagging … Continue reading

Posted in abduction, generative mechanisms, grounded theory, qualitative longitudinal, refining theory | Leave a comment

Positivism, realism, and the experiment

Imre Lakatos wrote somewhere, and I can’t remember where, that if we are to talk of positivism then we must define what we mean before we start. In thinking about the possibilities for experimentation and realism I start by defining … Continue reading

Posted in experiment, generative mechanisms, positivism, RCT | Leave a comment

The ingredients of realist research for a disputatious community of truth seekers.

Realist researchers are, to use Ray Pawson’s term, a disputatious community of truth seekers. For me, this means that we agree (most of the time) on some or all of the underlying methodological principles, or ingredients, of realist research, but … Continue reading

Posted in generative mechanisms, realism, refining theory, social reality, weak constructions | Leave a comment

Mechanisms, the problem and the solution: a response to Howick et al. (2013)

I cannot disagree with the conclusion of Howick and colleagues’ 2013 paper, ‘Problems with using mechanisms to solve the problem of extrapolation’. Uncertainty and scepticism will always be part of medicine, at least an account of medicine that does not … Continue reading

Posted in generative mechanisms | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Step 4: Generative mechanisms are the powers that effect behaviour. They make a difference; they cause things to happen

In the previous step I made reference to William Outhwaite’s observation that social relations are as real as human actions. In this step I want to go further and bundle up social relations, human actions, and ideas under one term—generative … Continue reading

Posted in causal efficacy, generative mechanisms, powers | Leave a comment

Step 3: Realism is a model of stratified reality being composed generatively

This observation about realism builds on my previous step. The emphasis on generative composition I leave to William Outhwaite (1998: pg. 284) who in his discussion of realism and social science observes that ‘the more interesting human actions [which I … Continue reading

Posted in generative mechanisms, realism | Leave a comment