Critical realism and social work research

As a philosophy of science, critical realism has become a strong contender to other ontological frameworks in the discipline of social work. The holistic perspective of social work research and practice requires the ability to comprehend the stratified and complicated nature of reality. The first symposium of critical realism and social work research was first hold in 2013 at the conference in Jyväskylä and the Special Interest Group was established in Bolzano 2014 and followed up by SIG symposia in Bolzano, Ljubljana, Lisbon, Aalborg. In 2018, a pre-conference of critical realism and social work research was hold at the ESWRA conference in Edinburgh. Topics in the previous gatherings have been discussions about how critical realism may contribute to make theoretical and methodological choices in social work research and the possibility of achieving anti-oppressive social work practices based on the concept of stratified reality offered in CR. 

The group is an open forum for all who are interested in social work methodologies and theory building and have opened up for vivid discussions on the philosophical bases of social work research.

Aims and scopes:
·To bring together social work researchers with different methodological backgrounds to discuss theories of social sciences in general, and how a critical realist framework might contribute to the development of fruitful approaches for different parts of social work research 

·To meet with an international network for researchers to share project results, research experiences, literature and to cooperate in the planning of new projects and meetings. 


Monica Kjørstad (Oslo Metropolitan University)

Elina Pekkarinen (University of Turku and Finnish Youth Research Network)

ANNOUNCEMENT 2019 SIG. April 10th

2019 Special Interest Group in Critical Realism and Social Work Research

Dear research colleagues,

Please notice that the SIG events for this year´s ESWRA conference is now announced on the conference´s website. As conveners we warmly welcome you to the SIG Critical Realism and Social Work Research that was established in Jyväskylä 2013 and followed up in Bolzano, Ljubljana, Lisbon, Aalborg and Edinburgh.

We have two broad topics for the 2019 SIG:

1) Critical realism and social science

2) Interdisciplinarity in research, education and practice. The program is a preliminary frame of content and we will also follow up our previous discussions concerning critical realism and dialectics.

The deadline for early bird registration to the conference is January 22nd. The final registration date is April.1st. The SIG will take place on April 10th. and you will receive a detailed program when it is ready.

We warmly welcome you to join this "free space" of discussion for everyone interested in the theory of science in general and critical realism in particular. If you wish to present your work during this SIG seminar we invite you to submit an abstract, your ideas for discussions etcetera to Monica Kjørstad ( as soon as possible and before March 15th. We will certainly find a spot for you in the program.

Best regards

Monica Kjørstad

Elina Pekkarinen

Mikko Mäntysaari