Sunday, 22 May 2016

Causality, method and imagination

Increasingly, critical realist scholars have been discussing the implications of realist theories of causality for the research methods we use in the social sciences. The usual view - which I will agree with - is that realism is compatible with a wide range of different research methods. But that doesn't mean that the question of how to approach realist research is simply solved by picking whichever existing methods fit with our research interests. In this post (based on a talk I gave at Kings College London recently) I will suggest that for realists there is a gap between conventional methods and the explanatory task, and then speculate a little on how we might fill that gap in practice.