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An Introduction to Critical Realism as a Meta-Theoretical Research Perspective

Research output: Working paper

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherCentre for Public Policy Research, King's College London
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011

Publication series

NameCentre for Public Policy Research Working Paper Series
PublisherKing's College London


King's Authors


This paper offers an introduction to Roy Bhaskar’s theory of critical realism, presenting it as a distinct meta-theoretical perspective from which research in the social sciences may be conducted. It begins by examining how critical realism emerged in reaction to the inadequacies of strong forms of the positivist and constructionist traditions, before considering the major conceptual and methodological differences between each of these positions. Against this background, critical realism is characterised as a ‘maximally inclusive’ meta-theoretical perspective which is able to accommodate the strengths of both the positivist and constructionist positions while avoiding their weaknesses.

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