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Realist ontology and epistemology for rural research


  • Wendy Olsen


In this paper, realist findings from the philosophy of social science are summarised and implications for rural research methodology are drawn out. Four specific ontological claims are fleshed out. These ontological claims act as grounding assumptions for social research and knowledge, but are not foundational in the essentialist sense. Examples are used to illustrate realism in action in empirical research in India. Then several epistemological themes underlying realist village research are also spelt out. The paper offers a very explicit introduction to a range of sophisticated themes in realist social research. Overall the paper contributes an original line of argument to the debate about realist research methodology and techniques.

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  • Wendy Olsen, 2008. "Realist ontology and epistemology for rural research," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series 5308, GDI, The University of Manchester.
  • Handle: RePEc:bwp:bwppap:5308

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    Cited by:

    1. Sanou, Aboubakary & Kouyaté, Bocar & Bibeau, Gilles & Nguyen, Vinh-Kim, 2011. "Evaluability Assessment of an immunization improvement strategy in rural Burkina Faso: Intervention theory versus reality, information need and evaluations," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 303-315, August.

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