Realist Inquiry in Social Science
- Brian D. Haig - University of Canterbury, New Zealand
- Colin W. Evers - The University of New South Wales, Australia
Realist Inquiry in Social Science is an invaluable guide to conducting realist research. Written by highly regarded experts in the field, the first part of the book sets out the fundamentals necessary for rigorous realist research, while the second part deals with a number of its most important applications, discussing it in the context of case studies, action research and grounded theory amongst other approaches.
Grounded in philosophical methodology, this book goes beyond understanding knowledge justification only as empirical validity, but instead emphasises the importance of theoretical criteria for all good research. The authors consider both quantitative and qualitative research methods, and approach methodology from an interdisciplinary viewpoint. Using abductive reasoning as the starting point for an insightful journey into realist inquiry, this book demonstrates that scientific realism continues to be of major relevance to the social sciences.
The current replication crisis in psychology makes professors’ Haig and Evers book as timely as it is erudite. Using philosophical realism as their organizing principle, they take the reader on a creative and insightful tour through validity, Grounded Theory, factor analysis and case studies in an effort to improve and advance psychological research.
Realist Inquiry in Social Science comes as a complete breath of fresh air in a domain predominated by anti-realism. I was especially charmed and mesmerized by its recognition of the primacy of problems and its focus on abductive reasoning.
This book provides an accessible and systematic introduction to Realist methodologies in the social sciences. It covers qualitative and quantitative research methods from a Realist perspective, making clear how this approach provides a fruitful and practical way for social scientists to approach research methods. That a book of such clarity should have been written by Brian Haig and Colin Evers is not surprising. Over the past three decades, Realism has moved from the periphery of methodological considerations to taking centre stage. In the social sciences these authors have been central to the change in Realism’s fortunes.
Sample Materials & Chapters
Realist Inquiry in Social Science: Scientific Realism