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What Is Realism Research Philosophy? Why It Is Important?

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Research philosophies are sets of beliefs and assumptions that researchers opt for developing scientific knowledge. There are four main types of philosophical views that cover almost all types of researches. For instance, positivism philosophy differs from interpretivism philosophy in many aspects. In the same way, remarkable differences between pragmatism philosophy and realism research philosophy are also reported. This article will briefly discuss all four philosophical views. However, its primary focus will be realism research philosophy, its importance and its applications in qualitative research.

What Is Realism In Research?

The word ‘reality’ describes things that only exist in the real world. It opposes things that exist only in imagination. The philosophy based on the realism approach is the one that only implies the facts and knowledge that exist in reality. Thus, in research, the realism philosophy suggests that reality never depends on the thoughts of man. Furthermore, it mainly relies on the assumption of scientific approaches for the better development of knowledge. In research, the realism research philosophy is further classified into two main types:

Direct Realism:

In other words, direct realism is the type of realism research philosophy that describes what you see and what you get. Thus, direct realism allows a researcher to see the world by observing things through his/her senses.

Critical Realism:

Critical realism is a philosophy that helps humans in distinguishing real world from the observable world. It describes that the sensation and experience of the real world can be misleading and can wrongly portray the real world. But according to Roy Bhaskar, critical realism is the approach initially adopted to scientifically understand the world. It is contrary to positivism and empiricism as it specifically focuses on investigating causal mechanisms.

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In the big picture, irrespective of the types of realism, this research aims to deal with only reality without being affected by the ideology, belief and thoughts of humans.

What Is Realism In Qualitative Research?

The realism approach explains that the earth is layered into different facts of reality. Thus, the linear direct relationship patterns can be found by investigating the connection between variables. Also, qualitative research can directly be a well-reported research type in this aspect.

The important thing to know about the use of realism in qualitative research is ‘how causal mechanism and power can help in finding the pattern of behaviour’. The best possible solution to find the relationship or patterns between the variables is to explore them in an open system. This is the point where this particular research is employed by taking into account the open system of investigation can help. The qualitative researches help us in examining the social world where the variable can interact with each other in an unpredictable manner to support the theory of causality in realism.

In a few simple words, the realism in qualitative research allows the variables of a scientific problem to operate casually to interpret reality-based relationships between them. It helps you in minimising the effect of human thoughts and beliefs on the quality of research and investigation. However, you have option to buy dissertation online if you are unable to work on this research philosophy.

What Is The Aim Of Realism In Philosophy?

Realism research philosophy is simply the ideology that things operate in the world even when humans do not perceive them. Thus, in philosophy, realism is a viewpoint about the existence of things in a real world that are independent of the fact whether people think or perceive it or not. Hence, the aims of this philosophy are to eradicate any cultural, ideological or religious impact on the investigation of scientific facts.

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Why Is Realism Important In Research?

Research is an important way to improve the living standard of a human being. There are many philosophies to understand the nature of science. But the understanding of scientific realism is a big step forward to resolve the long-term dilemmas in research. The root cause of the majority of the research dilemmas is the incorrect human concepts related to causation. These incorrect notions may have a drastic negative effect on the quality of research in social sciences. Therefore, in research, the realism research philosophy emphasises on exploring the facts in a real or open context. It advises researchers never to allow their intentions and perceptions to affect the quality of their research. In another sense, the realism research philosophy is important to science as it promotes critical values, such as social justice in scientific processes.

What Are The Four Philosophical Views In Research?

The term philosophy commonly refers to sets of assumptions to lay the foundation of scientific knowledge. To put it in another way, the research philosophy explains the nature, sources and development of knowledge. Today’s diversified scientific research can be organised under the umbrella of four philosophical views, namely, positivism, interpretivism, pragmatism, and realism. Let us briefly discuss each of these philosophical views in the next section;


In a few simple words, positivism is a research philosophy only focuses on the factual knowledge gathered by means of using sense or another trustworthy measuring method. The scope of positivism in research is limited to the collection and interpretation of data in the most objective manner,

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Interpretivism is another philosophical approach to view the world from another angle. It relies on theories and epistemologies that explain how to gather knowledge about the processes of the world. It broadly depends on the understanding and implementation of theories created to define the causes of human actions.


This type of research theory explains that the human proposition and ideology are useful in academic research if they really work well. Thus, the simple meaning of this claim is that science will accept the preposition or ideology only if there is practical evidence of accepting it. In other words, according to the pragmatism approach research, the scientific community will reject the facts or ideas that do not have strong evidence.


The last philosophical view or our topic of discussion is ‘realism research philosophy’. It is the concept that describes that scientific knowledge must be reported on the basics of its existence in the real world. It aims to eradicate the effect of a person’s thoughts, ideas and beliefs in the development of scientific knowledge.

As an overarching view, all research philosophies in research have their own set of beliefs. But realism research philosophy aims to understand the nature of science by maximising the impact of personal thoughts and beliefs. It suggests researchers only visualise things that exist in reality.

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