A critical realist methodology in empirical research: foundations, process, and payoffs

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This article describes and evaluates the application of an explicitly critical realist methodology to a quantitative doctoral research project on the causes of family homelessness in Australia. It is offered as an example of a critical realist approach to empirical research, in the hope that it will provide ideas and motivation to other scholars seeking a critical realist foundation to their research practice. The paper demonstrates the role of critical realism in informing and defining the analytical and theoretical approach I took. It shows how the philosophy influenced the foundations and practical development of my work. It describes the process of moving from empirical data to theoretical models by stepping through and describing each stage. Finally, I offer an assessment of how critical realism changed, enabled, improved, and liberated my project; that is, what advantage critical realism offered to explaining a complex social phenomenon and crisis in contemporary Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Critical Realism
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Aug 2021


  • Critical realism
  • family homelessness
  • methodology
  • quantitative methods
  • underlabour


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