Category Archives: realism

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

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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

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Step 6: Theories about social objects refer to actual features of the real world

Joseph Maxwell (2012: 13) contends that: ‘our concepts refer to real phenomena, rather than being abstractions from sense data or purely our own constructions [… and more than this (on pg. 18), for realist researchers …] concepts, meanings and intentions … Continue reading

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Step 5: Society is neither a thing that exists independent of human action, nor is it ever entirely a product of our action

For realists, the goal of science is the identification of things and their causal powers. This goal can not be achieved, Roy Bhaskar (1998) asserts, through the faithful recording of the natural and social phenomena we sense, observe, and record. … Continue reading

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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

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