Critical Realism and Realist Review: Analyzing Complexity in Educational Restructuring and the Limits of Generalizing Program Theories Across Borders

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This article focuses on the design of a critical realist review that deployed Bhaskar’s resolution, redescribing, retroduction, eliminating, identifying, and correcting schema and Pawson and Tilley’s Context–Mechanism–Outcome configuration underpinned by realist social theory. Methodologically, the review examined the relationship between Singapore’s educational restructuring efforts and the research program theory adopted to measure and provide feedback on its outcomes. Specifically, the review investigated how the standards for authentic achievement and pedagogy from America (and a modified version from Australia) influenced educational research conduct in Singapore. The mechanism of interest was the practice of using the standards and accompanying assumptions from the American experience as a generalizable mechanism for producing evidence to measure and inform Singapore’s educational restructuring policy and educational practice. The article proposes that the critical realist review design provides one example of analyzing complexity and accounting for the historical, highlighting the limits of generalizing program theories across borders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-237
Number of pages22
JournalAmerican Journal of Evaluation
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • CMOc
  • critical realism
  • educational change
  • indigenous contexts
  • realist social theory

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