Critical realism and statistical methods: a response to Nash

Scott, David (2007) Critical realism and statistical methods: a response to Nash. British Educational Research Journal, 33 (2). pp. 141-154. ISSN 1469-3518

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01411920701208167

Abstract

This article offers a defence of critical realism in the face of objections Nash (2005) makes to it in a recent edition of this journal. It is argued that critical and scientific realisms are closely related and that both are opposed to statistical positivism. However, the suggestion is made that scientific realism retains (from statistical positivism) a number of elements that result in misleading accounts of social processes and events: indicators are used which do not reflect the close relationship between structure and agency; indicators refer to reified and not real properties of both structures and agents; and indicators do not refer to causal properties of objects and entities. In order to develop a narrative of causal processes, as Nash argues researchers should, then some adjustments need to be made to the principles that underpin scientific realism

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:This article offers a defence of critical realism in the face of objections Nash (2005) makes to it in a recent edition of this journal. It is argued that critical and scientific realisms are closely related and that both are opposed to statistical positivism. However, the suggestion is made that scientific realism retains (from statistical positivism) a number of elements that result in misleading accounts of social processes and events: indicators are used which do not reflect the close relationship between structure and agency; indicators refer to reified and not real properties of both structures and agents; and indicators do not refer to causal properties of objects and entities. In order to develop a narrative of causal processes, as Nash argues researchers should, then some adjustments need to be made to the principles that underpin scientific realism
Keywords:Education research
Subjects:X Education > X300 Academic studies in Education
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Education
ID Code:671
Deposited By: Bev Jones
Deposited On:22 Jun 2007
Last Modified:13 Aug 2011 16:35

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