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.
used to enable reliable descriptions and provide accurate comparisons and identify patterns
World operates as a multi-dimensional open system
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.
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).
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.
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.