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Analysis of generative mechanisms
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
2011 (English)In: Journal of Critical Realism, ISSN 1476-7430, E-ISSN 1572-5138, Vol. 10, no 1, 60-79 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The focus of this article is the analysis of generative mechanisms, a basic concept and phenomenon within the metatheoretical perspective of critical realism. It is emphasized that research questions and methods, as well as the knowledge it is possible to attain, depend on the basic view – ontologically and epistemologically – regarding the phenomenon under scrutiny. A generative mechanism is described as a trans empirical but real existing entity, explaining why observable events occur. Mechanisms are mostly possible to grasp only indirectly by analytical work (theory-building), based however on empirical observations. In order to achieve such an explanatory analysis, five methodological steps are suggested and discussed, among them abduction and retroduction. These steps are illustrated throughout by examples drawn from empirical research regarding social work practice. The article is concluded with a discussion of the need for knowledge of generative mechanisms.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Equinox Publishing , 2011. Vol. 10, no 1, 60-79 p.
Keyword [en]
abduction; explanation; generative mechanisms; retroduction; social work
National Category
Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-40630OAI: diva2:401532
Available from: 2011-03-03 Created: 2011-03-03 Last updated: 2011-06-20Bibliographically approved

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Blom, BjörnMorén, Stefan
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