1st Edition

Critical Realism for Health and Social Research

Edited By May-Britt Solem, Dag Jenssen Copyright 2025
    232 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    232 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book, which is aimed at the health care and social work/care field, looks at the relationship between different levels of research projects.

    As the social sciences can be based on quite different assumptions or ‘philosophies’ about what the social world is like and how knowledge about it can be obtained, this book will help students navigate the need for consistency between empirical work, the research question, research design, values and philosophy of science.
    Based on a critical realist perspective the book seeks to elucidate and to reflect on such connections, and to argue for the requirements of coherence as well as taking a critical look at the dilemmas that arise in health and social care/work research.
    Comprised of thirteen chapters which cover theoretical frameworks, research questions, objectives of the study, research ethical considerations, values, and the question of validity, it shows how these must be interlinked if a project is to have a good design.

    It will be of interest to researchers, PhD candidates and master's students in the field of health care and social work/care.

    Chapter One – Introduction

    May-Britt Solem, Per Arne Tufte and Dag Jenssen


    Chapter Two – Coherence: The need to think about the whole

    Dag Jenssen


    Chapter Three – Critical realism and “the situated knowledges” methodology: Coherent and comprehensive positions in health and social research?

    May-Britt Solem


    Chapter Four – Coherence and methodological issues specific for interdisciplinary research

    Berth Danermark


    Chapter Five – Dialectical Critical Realism, Action Research and Social Work

    Stanley Houston


    Chapter Six – The role of values in a critical realist perspective

    Dag Jenssen


    Chapter Seven – Quality criteria in research: the empiricist approach and critical realism

    Knut-Andreas Christophersen


    Chapter Eight – Quality in critical realist qualitative research

    Kaja Larsen Østerud


    Chapter Nine – Mechanism explanations in social research

    Per Arne Tufte


    Chapter Ten – Rethinking research on young adults’ labour market inclusion: a critical analysis of ambivalent outcome categories

    Ivan Harsløf


    Chapter Eleven – Climate Change is Real: Critical Realism and the Unequal Social Impacts of Climate Change

    Amber J. Fletcher


    Chapter Twelve – Mixed methods research a strengthening of validity?

    May-Britt Solem


    Chapter Thirteen – Conclusion

    May-Britt Solem and Dag Jenssen


    May-Britt Solem is Professor Emerita of Social Work at Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway. She is the editor of Critical Realism for Welfare Professions: Routledge (2017).

    Dag Jenssen is Associate Professor of philosophy of science at Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway.