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