Critical Realism and Qualitative Research in Psychology

Article


Willis, M. 2022. Critical Realism and Qualitative Research in Psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology.
AuthorsWillis, M.
Abstract

Qualitative researchers wishing to circumnavigate the limitations of positivism, on the one hand, and strong constructionism, on the other, tend to be attracted to critical realism (CR), which offers a middle ground between the two: CR combines ontological realism and epistemological relativism. As a philosophical position for qualitative research, CR has been adopted by researchers utilising diverse data collection and analytic methods. However, there are at least two distinct approaches claiming the CR name: one developed by Joseph Maxwell, with qualitative research specifically in mind, and one developed by Roy Bhaskar and colleagues, as a general philosophy of natural and social sciences. In this paper I compare these two forms of CR on four dimensions, which on the surface they appear to share: (1) what does “critical” mean; (2) epistemological relativism; (3) ontological realism; (4) causality. It is obvious that, below the surface when the details are examined, the two approaches to CR differ considerably on at least the last three dimensions, if not all four. I propose four reasons for preferring Bhaskar’s CR over Maxwell’s CR, arguing the former is more appropriate for qualitative research in psychology.

Keywordsphilosophy of science; ontology; epistemology; qualitative research; critical realism; Roy Bhaskar; Joseph Maxwell
JournalQualitative Research in Psychology
ISSN1478-0895
Year2022
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Accepted author manuscript
License
File Access Level
Anyone
Publication process dates
Accepted08 Dec 2022
Deposited08 Dec 2022
Copyright holder© 2022 Taylor & Francis
Additional information

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Qualitative Research in Psychology on [In Press], available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/

Permalink -

https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/8v5x9

Restricted files

Accepted author manuscript

  • 30
    total views
  • 1
    total downloads
  • 8
    views this month
  • 0
    downloads this month

Export as

Related outputs

Meta-Study
Ronkainen, N., Wiltshire, G. and Willis, M. 2022. Meta-Study. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology. 15 (1), pp. 226-241. https://doi.org/10.1080/1750984X.2021.1931941
Bodies, Representations, Situations, Practices: qualitative research on affect, emotion and feeling
Willis, M. and Cromby, J. 2019. Bodies, Representations, Situations, Practices: qualitative research on affect, emotion and feeling. Qualitative Research in Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1080/14780887.2019.1656361
How young adults in London experience the Clubhouse Model of mental health recovery: a thematic analysis
Pardi, Jane and Willis, M. 2018. How young adults in London experience the Clubhouse Model of mental health recovery: a thematic analysis. Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Mental Health. 5 (2), pp. 169-182. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40737-018-0124-2
England’s Dreaming? UK critical psychology
Cromby, John and Willis, M. 2013. England’s Dreaming? UK critical psychology. Annual Review of Critical Psychology.
Nudging into subjectification: Governmentality and psychometrics
Cromby, John and Willis, M. 2013. Nudging into subjectification: Governmentality and psychometrics. Critical Social Policy. 34 (2), pp. 241-259. https://doi.org/10.1177/0261018313500868
Methodological pluralism in qualitative research: Reflections on a meta-study
Barnes, Jemima, Caddick, Nick, Clarke, Nicola J., Cromby, John, McDermott, Hilary, Willis, M. and Wiltshire, Gareth 2014. Methodological pluralism in qualitative research: Reflections on a meta-study. Qualitative Methods in Psychology. 17 (Spring).
Analytical Pluralism in Qualitative Research: A Meta-Study
Clarke, Nicola J., Willis, M., Barnes, Jemima S., Caddick, Nick, Cromby, John, McDermott, Hilary and Wiltshire, Gareth 2014. Analytical Pluralism in Qualitative Research: A Meta-Study. Qualitative Research in Psychology. 12 (2), pp. 182-201. https://doi.org/10.1080/14780887.2014.948980
Affect--or feeling (after Leys)
Cromby, J. and Willis, M. 2016. Affect--or feeling (after Leys). Theory & Psychology. 26 (4), pp. 476-495. https://doi.org/10.1177/0959354316651344
A critical narrative analysis of shared decision-making in acute, inpatient mental health care
Stacey, Gemma, Felton, Anne, Morgan, Alastair, Stickley, Theo, Willis, M., Diamond, Bob, Houghton, Philip, Johnson, Beverley and Dumenya, John 2016. A critical narrative analysis of shared decision-making in acute, inpatient mental health care. Journal of Interprofessional Care. 30 (1), pp. 35-41.
Informed, Involved and Influential: The 3 I's model of Shared Decision Making in Mental Health Care
Stacey, Gemma, Felton, Anne, Houghton, Philip, Hui, Ada, Morgan, Alastair, Shutt, James, Diamond, Bob, Willis, M. and Stickley, Theo 2015. Informed, Involved and Influential: The 3 I's model of Shared Decision Making in Mental Health Care. Mental Health Practice. 19 (4), pp. 31-35.