Buy Critical realism: research methodology paper

The necessity of case decomposition leads to a particular attention to "within-case design". While Yin specifies the minimal requirements for such design, critical realist applications develop these techniques much more thoroughly. Harrison and Easton apply the embedded case method by identifying sub-cases across time to refine the "context-mechanism-outcome" (CMO) operationalization of critical realism.

CMO is traditionally applicable to case families in order to identify contextual or policy differences and similarities to explain variations in outcomes; however, this setting is criticized for high reliance of researcher's interpretation of context. Decomposition across time facilitates disentangling internal external context and therefore production of more rigorous explanations. Faria decomposes "critical episodes" chosen by informants in an industry network across time and standpoint matrix, identifying a set of nested units of analysis.

Thorough within-case design increases the overall validity of research; this merit can be further strengthened by applying method triangulation. With this approach, distinct research methods can be applied to specifically defined analytical units; the possibility of such application and its consequences are considered below.

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Reflexive interpretation of research techniques, analyzed narratives and research findings is equally beneficial. Alvesson and Skoeldberg identify four levels of reflexive interpretation that can be present on all stages of research, namely primary, hermeneutic, critical and post-modernist. As Faria notes, critical realism recognizes limited awareness by actors of the potentially empowering mechanisms they are using, which, in turn, limits our capability of making plausible behavioral assumptions. At the same time, the research findings are necessary to be communicated back to the participants for emancipatory reasons. Such feedback further works towards increased validity of the findings.

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