1st Edition

Working with Critical Realism Stories of Methodological Encounters

Edited By Alpesh Maisuria, Grant Banfield Copyright 2023
    176 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    176 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This international and interdisciplinary collection gathers stories from researchers and research students about their methodological encounters with critical realism. Whether the contributors are experienced or novice researchers, they are predominantly new to critical realism. For various reasons, as the contributors’ detail, they have all been drawn to critical realism.

    It is well known that critical realism can be bewildering and even overwhelming to newcomers, especially to those unfamiliar with language of, and without a grounding in, philosophy. While there are now numerous and important introductory and applied critical realist texts that make critical realism more accessible to a broader audience, stories from newcomers have been absent – especially as part of a single collection.

    The significance and uniqueness of this collection lies in its documentation of first-hand reflective insights on the practical use and implementation of critical realism. The contributors feature critical realist inspired research journeys in Australia, England, Scotland, Belgium, Sweden, and Spain.

    The hope of this book is that the stories and accounts presented in it will inspire – or at least sufficiently arouse – the curiosity of others to explore critical realist possibilities, which we believe offer enormous value to serious researchers across and within all disciplines and subjects who are interested in rigorous intellectual work with a socially progressive purpose.

    CHAPTER 1 Introduction: Journeys Through Critical Realism

    Alpesh Maisuria and Grant Banfield

    CHAPTER 2 A Detective, Physicist and Historian Walk into a Bar: Abduction, Retroduction and Retrodiction in Critical Realist Evaluations

    Didier Boost, Björn Blom & Peter Raeymaeckers

    CHAPTER 3 Bridging the Gap Between Philosophy and Empirical Research: A Critical Realist Methodology Using Quantitative Methods

    Catherine Hastings

    CHAPTER 4 Parent Engagement in Student Learning: Using Critical Realism to Uncover the Generative Mechanisms Needed for Teachers to Embrace Parent Engagement in their Teaching Practice

    Catherine Quinn

    CHAPTER 5 On the Anti-Imperialist Possibilities of Critical Realism

    Omar Kaissi

    CHAPTER 6 Cobbling Together Methods for a Coherent Critical Realist Methodology: Searching for Mechanisms

    Bree Weizenegger

    CHAPTER 7 A Critical Realist Perspective on the 'Quality and Reform Dance' in the Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET) Sector: The Road Less Travelled

    Deborah Johnson

    CHAPTER 8 The Utility of Critical Realism in Indigenous Research

    Cassandra Diamond

    CHAPTER 9 The Spatiality of School Choice – A Critical Realist Quantitative Geography of Education?

    Anna-Maria Fjellman

    CHAPTER 10 Real Men, Real Violence: Critical Realism and the Search for the Masculine Subject

    Ben Wadham

    CHAPTER 11 The Critical Realist Toolkit

    Ellenah Mackie

    CHAPTER 12 Journeys to Critical Realism: A Conversation about Spirituality, Love and Human Emancipation

    Loretta Geuenich, Celina Valente, and Grant Banfield

    CHAPTER 13 (A kind of) Conclusion – Against Full-Stops and Bookends?

    Alpesh Maisuria and Grant Banfield





    Alpesh Maisuria is Associate Professor of Education Policy in Critical Education, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK. Through underlabouring Marxism, his work examines the ideological and political drivers of policy decisions to critique the role and function of education in (re)producing forms of inequality. He has an extensive publications record, including the Encyclopaedia of Marxism and Education (Brill 2022). Alpesh is the Joint Deputy Editor of Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies (JCEPS) and is the co-convenor of the Marxism and Education: Renewing Dialogues (MERD) seminar series (see the Facebook group). He is also Academic Parliamentary Fellow for the House Commons Library in the UK Parliament, and the American Education Research Association (AERA) Marxian and Society SIG Programme Chair. 


    Grant Banfield is Adjunct Lecturer, University of South Australia. He has been a teacher and university researcher/academic in Australian secondary schools and universities for over 40 years. His commitment throughout has been to the advancement of education as an emancipatory and revolutionary project. Grant’s research, writing, and scholarship centre on exploring the relationship between realist philosophy of science and Marxian social theory and the possibilities this brings for ethical and transformative praxis. He is the author of Critical Realism for Marxist Sociology of Education (Routledge 2016).