These examples are from corpora and from sources on the web. One reason is that this work comes from a positivist tradition where there is no inherent need or basis for examining causality beyond the sense “of causality as a constant conjunction of events” (Smith, 2005, p. 31). Squares A and B appear to be different colours because of neighbouring contrasting squares, but actually they are the same colour. Critical realism is a complicated middle ground philosophy probably the most complex of them all along with complexity theory, but it is a middle ground philosophy that makes the most sense for my research and for the aims of the research. This is especially relevant in ICT4D today. The four modes of reasoning used most in social research are induction, deduction, abduction, and First, they make the point that critical realists want to bring ontology back into social theory as they feat that social scientists have forgotten to talk about it. Within this body of work, explicit consideration of research philosophy generally and of specific research paradigms is rare (Gomez & Day, 2013). ** Critical Realism (CR) is a branch of philosophy that distinguishes between the 'real' world and the 'observable' world. The world as we know and understand it is constructed from our perspectives and experiences, through what is 'observable'. Using realist methodology to evaluate complex interventions in nursing: A scoping review. There are both general and domain‐specific challenges to further use of critical realism within ICT4D research, not least the orientation of many ICT4D researchers towards alternative paradigms. This is the position of philosophical realism: the view that whatever we perceive is real, truly out there. Bringing critical realism to nursing practice: Roy Bhaskar's contribution. Critical realism has been and remains central to these efforts. In Section 2 of the paper, we outline the main features of critical realism. The open systems view taken by critical realism is one that does not provide for causal mechanisms that operate in the same way at all times and in all contexts, but it does develop an understanding of causality. Critical realists also engage constructively with social theory, but they are more than just theorists. The first form, coined as “basic” critical realism, is a philosophical thesis consisting of three interrelated theories that offer a re-evaluation of the sciences and through this a robust social theory applicable to educational research. But alongside this generic value of adopting any research paradigm, critical realism may have a particular current value in ICT4D. This article provides a concrete example of applied qualitative research using CR as a philosophical and methodological framework. Belief that an independent reality exists 4. Critical realism (CR) is a realist theory that has been applied to explain and ground claims of knowledge, truth, progress and reality obtained through research in both natural and social sciences (Bhaskar, 1975, 1989; Archer and Bhaskar et al., 1998). Judging from the number of ICT4D‐relevant special issue calls in high‐ranking information systems journals from 2010 onwards, there is growing interest in ICT4D from at least this broader discipline. 1, pp. By contrast, critical realism's methodological pluralism and triangulation force multiple viewpoints and data sources and methods to be incorporated. The philosophical writings of Roy Bhaskar (1989), Margaret Archer (2003), and others highlight the epistemological challenges that must be resolved within the conduct of research. You’re looking at a computer screen. In a general way, critical realism's concern with engagement and change is supportive of practice‐oriented disciplines. This has been advanced by the growing use of Amartya Sen's work—with its focus on justice (Sen, 2009)—within ICT4D and by the growing interest in ethics and social justice within wider development (Oosterlaken, 2015). The generative mechanisms of digital infrastructure evolution, The philosophy of social research, 3rd edn, Conducting information systems research: an epistemological journey, Information systems research methods, epistemology, and applications. Critical realism is particularly well suited as a companion to case research. 56-64. Within the domain of the real sit generative mechanisms: “causal structures that generate observable events” (Henfridsson & Bygstad, 2013, p. 911). Applying critical realism in qualitative research: Methodology meets method. As an ICT4D example, Alao, Lwoga, and Chigona (2017) use an interpretive approach to understand how telecentre use impacts empowerment of women in South Africa. Critical Realism (CR) is a philosophy of science that is based around a number of ontological principles. Molecular Logic and Computational Synthetic Biology. But for those who share recognition of critical realism's value, there can be a number of enabling actions. More generally, critical realism's mandated reflexivity forces ongoing introspection about the nature of the research process and its overall rigour including biases of context, respondents, and researcher. Critical realism offers an ontology that can conceptualize reality, support theorizing, and guide empirical work in the natural and human sciences. The focus on critical realism was a useful adjunct for my own research and I would have no hesitation in recommending this to students also interested in taking a critical realism approach to qualitative research projects. Alongside this epistemological criticism about knowledge formation were deeper ontological challenges to positivism that argued against the existence of any objective reality. (eds) Information and Communication Technologies for Development, Springer, Cham, 159‐170. At a basic level, the emancipatory impulses of critical realism resonate with the ideas of ethics, and critical realism would thus be supportive of work on ICT4D and ethics. Realist ontologies (assumptions about the nature … Three methodological features of critical realism will be identified here: iterative retroduction, pluralism, and reflexivity. A potential danger of taking a more political perspective on ICT4D is that research may be overly structuralist: focusing only on social structures of power and ignoring the agency of individual and collective human actors. Moving from conceptual ambiguity to knowledgeable action: using a critical realist approach to studying moral distress. Encouraging greater use of critical realism would enable the desired combination: allowing identification of common mechanisms but also identifying the mechanisms of contextual difference that create the complex interaction and patterns of outcome seen in practice. For example, the absence of disabled programmers at a hackathon as a result of mechanisms of exclusion of the disabled from ICT‐related capabilities and/or structures. 2. The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries. 5 “multi-perspectival realism” (p. 12) to describe this. As coeditors, we are very grateful to the contributors and the past and present editors for their efforts in realizing this special edition of Nursing Inquiry that explores and demonstrates methodological applications of critical realism in nursing and health. Qualitative Research (1997, p. 133). †† It encompasses difference: reflecting the contingent and contextualised link between cause and effect seen in ICT4D practice and legitimising the views of different stakeholders on ICT4D phenomena. Calls for a more political approach to ICT4D field research (Krauss & Turpin. As the “4D” element directly indicates, it is seeking to achieve progressive social change, seeking to deliver specific development goals. But impossible to full apprehend this reality 6.1. The second timely value of critical realism is its relevance to what we might call the “political turn” in ICT4D. ICT Unbounded, Social Impact of Bright ICT Adoption. Recognition of this continues to grow in response to the intractable nature of the most burdensome of health and social challenges. In addition, the critical aspect of critical realism means it has a central concern with the ways in which power structures society. In this chapter I list and describe various innovative methodological contributions made in recent years by realists. (2017). Similarly, the techniques of inquiry usually associated with ethnography are amenable to linkage with critical realist foundations to uncover and illuminate social relations of health care (Porter 2002). Some academic disciplines lend themselves to theorisation and abstraction. Conference tracks or journal special issues dealing with critical/political perspectives on ICT4D (eg, Andrade & Urquhart. Introduction Over the last couple of decades pluralism in information systems research has increased significantly attracting a lot of attention from researchers and decision-makers in the field. Explaining mental health recovery in the context of structural disadvantage: the unrealised potential of critical realism. Although rarely made explicit, analysis has been undertaken to infer the paradigms being used. Please check your email for instructions on resetting your password. 2 A This is in some ways the opposite of retroduction since it starts in the real and then seeks to match proposed mechanisms to what is observed in the empirical. Critical Realism in IS Research Despite its prevalent position among the rest of the paradigms, positivism has been criticized for a “naïve realism” in which reality is … Although true to some degree of all research paradigms, critical realism particularly—because of the relative complexity of combining a realist ontology with a relativist epistemology—has been criticised as hard to understand and “difficult, time‐consuming and resource‐intensive” to operationalise (Reed, 2009, p. 436). (2013, p. 27) argue that the additional concerns of ICT4D, relating to both practice and change, create a problem: “the [ICT4D] research community is not unified on how to harmonize the difficult and sometimes competing goals of conducting experiments, producing social change, and studying the phenomena of ICT use in developing countries.” Critical realism emerges as a basis for this harmonisation, given that it encompasses research, practice, and developmental social change. 2008) and can form the basis for critical examination of past research (Angus et al. His book publications include India's Software Industry (1996), Reinventing Government in the Information Age (1999), Implementing and Managing eGovernment (2006), ICTs, Climate Change and Development (2012); and Information and Communication Technology for Development (2018). Health, illness, and the human body possess properties that exist independently of what is known or claimed about them (Bhaskar 1989). But at a deeper level, one might argue that the foundations of rights, ethics, and justice in the ICT4D field lie within the structures of society: that these all derive from and are largely determined by social structures (Heeks & Renken, 2018). Special Issue: Critical Realism and ICT4D. From the turn of the 21st century, there has been an ever‐growing body of research and publication looking at the role of information and communication technologies in socio‐economic development (ICT4D). Explaining human change: On generative mechanisms in social work practice, Critical realism, sociology and health inequalities: Social class as a generative mechanism and its media of enactment, Beyond meaning, discourse and the empirical world: Critical realist reflections on health. Critical realism is not an empirical program; it is not a methodology; it is not even truly a theory, because it explains nothing. Richard Heeks, Centre for Development Informatics, University of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PL, UK. Thus, any experience is shaped by the context of that experience: it is not objective but is contingent and transient. The exact relation of critical realism to ethics and justice is debated (Norrie, 2010; Sayer, 1997). Critical realism and critical theory: Following on from this, it can be reasonably suggested that critical realism and critical theories of society are very often the subject of common association and, given the emancipatory research intentions present in both, this is not without foundation. 2002, 153). The advantages of critical realism over rival metatheoretical positions, including empiricism, social constructionism, neo-Kantianism and hermeneutics, is shown, demonstrating in particular what is called the ‘‘double-inclusiveness’’ of critical realism. There is therefore a danger that critical realism might be seen as structuralist: focusing on social structures as explanations and ignoring or downplaying the role of human agency. In: The SAGE Handbook of ... Show page numbers . We can understand this as a rolling iteration between structure and agency, between the real and the actual. But it struggles to deal with the other biases. Fletcher, A. J . His current research is based in Sierra Leone and examines the role of mobile technologies in reconfiguring health systems and practices (mHealth), and an exploration of how such mobile devices are implemented, adopted, scaled, and sustained. It supports the “political turn” in ICT4D: exposing the structures and mechanisms of power that underpin application of ICTs in development contexts but still allowing space for consideration of human agency. We recognised the general value of direct engagement with any research paradigms in enhancing ICT4D researchers' analytical capacity and the overall credibility of themselves and our subdiscipline. Chapter 1 What Is Realism, and Why Should Qualitative Researchers Care? Combining Pragmatism and Critical Realism in ICT4D Research: An e-Resilience Case Example. Background: Healthcare research acknowledges a range of paradigms, including postpositivism and critical realist methodologies. There is little overt engagement with research paradigms in ICT4D research, but what there is shows a dominance of positivism and interpretivism. His research interests are data‐intensive development, e‐resilience and e‐sustainability, digital development, and the digital economy in developing countries. For example, it is argued that the tenets of critical realism offer a strong platform for mixed method research (Lipscomb 2008) and comparative case study (Bergene 2007). Because the empirical is subject to the influence of context, then data gathered will be value laden. And for all groups, there is a lack of clear guidance on how exactly to put critical realism into practice: We may understand its methodology in theory but need to know more about practical methods and techniques of relevance (Fletcher, 2017), knowledge that the other papers in this special issue are seeking to provide. Number of times cited according to CrossRef: Clarifying Key Terms and Philosophical Foundations of Transaction Cost Economics. “A central idea of Critical Realism is that natural (physical and biological) and social (sociological) reality should be understood as an open stratified [layered] system of objects with causal powers [making things happen]” (Morton, 2006). Critical realism: A way forward for evaluation research in nursing? A Rethink of the Nature and Value of IT Assets – Critical Realism Approach. An example of an optical illusion below can be used to illustrate the difference between direct and critical realism. The 'real' can not be observed and exists independent from human perceptions, theories, and constructions. Such a combination enables the utilisation of various theoretical frames within ICT4D; frames that themselves integrate common mechanisms with contextual difference. In Mingers et al. Critical realists offer a set of philosophical underpinnings for social research. Both political analysis and calls for more political analysis relating to ICT4D generally (Andrade & Urquhart. Recognising that research philosophies are not freely selected like brands of beans on a supermarket shelf but, in part, reflect the ideology and personality of the individual researcher. 9) Critical realism takes a pluralistic approach to research methods. This is, of course, precisely the ontological perspective of critical realism. We sincerely hope that this body of thoughtful scholarship will help future researchers use critical realism in new, appropriate, and creative ways to address the important factors, problems, and trends in health and nursing. Critical realism (CR) is a useful philosophical framework for social science; however, little guidance is available on which precise methods – including methods of data collection, coding, and analysis – are best suited to applied CR research. It will require express intervention, say of ICT4D journal editors, to encourage greater engagement with research paradigms, developing a more fertile ground for critical realism—among other paradigms—to flourish. Notwithstanding the growing use of Critical Realism, we acknowledge that is not easy ontology to apply. Yet, researchers trained either in philosophy or method must cross these traditional boundaries to fairly and coherently express numerous philosophical tenets in the nuts‐and‐bolts of methods. Not to say that critical realism has been completely ignored in ICT4D (eg, Njihia & Merali, 2013), but it has been almost completely ignored. Analysis of past ICT4D research shows that, as a generalisation, it has been long on practice and short on intellectual depth: both theorisation and, as discussed in this paper, explicit use of research paradigms. Critical realism can help address these contextual issues: it requires an investigation of context because context is represented by the domain of the real. After noting challenges of applying critical realism, we draw final conclusions and thoughts about possible actions; hoping readers can then make a more informed choice for themselves on whether or not to follow a critical realist path in their own research. International Journal of Nursing Studies. Similarly, the techniques of inquiry usually associated with ethnography are amenable to linkage with critical realist foundations to uncover and illuminate social relations of health care ( Porter 2002 ). In this section, we will look at the potential value that critical realism can bring to ICT4D research—largely following the structure of the previous section—and will also acknowledge some challenges. In: Choudrie J., Islam M., Wahid F., Bass J., Priyatma J. New and exciting ways of seeing and understanding old and intractable problems are often evident. This is typically understood in terms of two types of triangulation. Belief that an independent reality exists 4. **** : theories used in ICT4D research, Into the future: Themes insights and agendas for ICT4D research and practice, Context‐specific theorizing in ICT4D research, Special issue on the politics of ICT for development, Unveiling the modernity bias: A critical examination of the politics of ICT4D, Realist social theory: The morphogenetic approach, Using stakeholder theory to analyze telecenter projects, Scientific realism and human emancipation, Reclaiming reality: A critical introduction to contemporary philosophy, Digital technologies for democratic governance in Latin America, ICTD interventions: Trends over the last decade, Proceedings of the fifth international conference on information and communication technologies and development, Multi‐stakeholder perspectives influencing policy‐research‐practice, Perspectives on ICTD research and practice, Explaining society: Critical realism in the social sciences, See no evil? Epistemological Dimension is Transitive 5. At what point should critical realists stop delving deeper and deeper into underlying mechanisms, generative causations, and exceptions to causative rules? Equally, following good practice in any research paradigm can go a long way to addressing shortcomings in research rigour. Critical realism consistently points to the epistemological implications of implicit ontological commitments in sociological research. We then compare these with the features of ICT4D research looking for both the generic, enduring value of critical realism in ICT4D research, and also for specific fit with current trends in the field.

examples of critical realism in research

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