Critical realism as a ?methodology? for exploring discourse in technical fields

17 Jun 2020

Applied linguistic research has tended to draw on the work of various postmodern theorists, such as Gee (1999) and others of the New Literacy Studies movement. Critical realism is a relatively new approach for social scientists working in the arena of academic development, at least in South Africa, and thus the perspectives that it can offer are either unknown or not well understood. This paper offers a theoretical perspective on discourse-based research practice, with concepts drawn from my experience of using critical realism as a philosophical framework and an analytical lens during a case study. Critical realism not only guided my research methodology but illuminated the perspective of other social theories. The focus of the research was the role of discourse in the constitution of radiographic knowledge in a higher education teaching and learning context embedded in a large state training hospital.