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Critical Realism by Mind Map: Critical Realism
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Critical Realism

For critical realists, the ultimate goal of research is not to identify generalisable laws (positivism) or to identify the lived experience or beliefs of social actors (interpre- tivism); it is to develop deeper levels of explanation and understanding.

Emancipatory Social Practice.

Emphasis on Causality

Belief that an independent reality exists

Epistemological Dimension is Transitive


used to enable reliable descriptions and provide accurate comparisons and identify patterns

But impossible to full apprehend this reality

New node

Our knowledge of the world is mediated by discourses available to us

Three Modes of Reality

World operates as a multi-dimensional open system

The Emperical

Those aspects of reality that can be experienced either directly of indirectly

The Actual

Or deep structures that occur but may not be experienced

The Real

The real or deep mechanisms or structures that generate phenomena (these causal mechanisms cannot be apprehended directly as they are not open to observation but can be inferred through a combination of empirical instigation and theory construction

Logic of Retroduction

THis involves moving from the level of observations and lived experiences to the underlying structures and mechanisms. Events are studied with respect to what may have, must have, or could have caused them.

Is a Meta-Theory - Ontological Position for Research

Critical realists make the assumption that an ontological theory presupposes an epistemological theory; and further to this, that this meta-theory influences the way data are collected and analysed about the social world (the strategic and method levels).

By Understanding Underlying Structures and Mechanisms

These causal mechanisms cannot be apprehended directly as they are not open to observation, but they can be inferred through a combination of empirical investigation and theory construction.

Mixed Methods of Data Gathering


Quanitative allow themes to emerge during the course of the enquiry that could not have been anti pated in advance. Also helps illuminate complex concepts and relationships.