Putting philosophy to work: Developing the conceptual architecture of research projects

Adam Nichol*, Catherine Hastings, Dave Elder-Vass

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Research necessarily entails the close interrelation of concepts and arguments, including solutions to a range of meta-questions, whether acknowledged explicitly or not. Despite this, few detailed accounts currently exist that support researchers to develop their complex conceptual architectures, especially in critical realist spheres. Indeed, many published accounts often omit much of this ‘messiness’ that sits behind, yet is foundational to, research projects. Those accounts that do seek to portray how/why researchers have made decisions (e.g., about connections between research philosophy, methodology, methods, theory and empirical evidence) tend to focus on one set of meta-questions, or occasionally on the relationships between two sets, at a time. Therefore, this paper presents a flexible framework-supported by specific examples from studies - that we hope will be useful in supporting researchers from all traditions, but especially critical realists, to carefully think through and develop more holistic connections in their conceptual architecture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-383
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Critical Realism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2023

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