Review Article
Volume 3 Issue 2 - 2021
An Overview of Critical Realism and its Relevance as a Philosophical Approach to Research in Nursing and Nurse Education
Phil Coleman*
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies, The Open University, United Kingdom
*Corresponding Author: Phil Coleman, School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care, Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.
Received: July 28, 2020; Published: January 27, 2021


Researchers need to clearly identify the philosophical assumptions that underpin their work if they are to ensure it can be exposed to appropriate academic scrutiny. This paper identifies the ontology, epistemology and methodology associated with the philosophical perspective known as Critical Realism and briefly explains the differences between this approach and other realist perspectives, such as Positivism. It highlights the growing interest in Critical Realism as a foundation for healthcare research. This interest is attributed to its pragmatic approach to knowledge acquisition and understanding in respect of complex social phenomena, combined with its emancipatory aspirations, which are particularly well-aligned with the professional values espoused by those working in the fields of nursing practice and nurse education. Finally, it acknowledges some of the potential problems associated with adopting a Critical Realist approach to a research study and the safeguards which may ensure a robust academic investigation.

Keywords: Critical Realism; Ontology; Epistemology; Methodology; Research; Nursing; Nurse Education


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Citation: Phil Coleman. “An Overview of Critical Realism and its Relevance as a Philosophical Approach to Research in Nursing and Nurse Education”. EC Nursing and Healthcare 3.2 (2021): 168-174.

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