A critical realist methodology in empirical research: foundations, process, and payoffs

Informa UK Limited
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Critical Realism, 2021, 20, (5), pp. 458-473
Issue Date:
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This article describes and evaluates the application of an explicitly critical realist methodology to a quantitative doctoral research project on the causes of family homelessness in Australia. It is offered as an example of a critical realist approach to empirical research, in the hope that it will provide ideas and motivation to other scholars seeking a critical realist foundation to their research practice. The paper demonstrates the role of critical realism in informing and defining the analytical and theoretical approach I took. It shows how the philosophy influenced the foundations and practical development of my work. It describes the process of moving from empirical data to theoretical models by stepping through and describing each stage. Finally, I offer an assessment of how critical realism changed, enabled, improved, and liberated my project; that is, what advantage critical realism offered to explaining a complex social phenomenon and crisis in contemporary Australia.
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