Realist Methodology

Realist Methodology

  • Summary
  • Overview
  • Key Readings

Realism is an approach to humanity which recognizes the real existence of social objects as well as physical objects. Thus realism does involve being realistic. But more importantly, it asserts that the things we are studying in social research have some prior existence and would continue to exist even if our knowledge of them was limited. Indeed, sometimes our knowledge is quite wrong, and realists assert that the real world will tend to constrain science so that wrong claims get challenged. In this set, you will find:

Volume 1: Practical Realist Ontology which covers the nature of the world, the role of the person, the need for social theory, the nature of language, open systems theorizing, and the avoidance of the fallacies of upward and downward ...

Editor's Introduction: Realist Methodology – A Review

Critical realists offer a set of philosophical underpinnings for social research. Critical realists also engage constructively with social theory, but they are more than just theorists. In this chapter I list and describe various innovative methodological contributions made in recent years by realists. I point out ways in which research methods (i.e. techniques) fit with particular methodological assertions. There is a historical legacy of empiricism which critical realists often use as a foil to make their own position more clear. However, among realists, a wide variety of methods are used, and the range of realist methodological assumptions is wider than one might expect because of their efforts to work with social theory.

The introduction to the chapter covers ontology ...

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