The ResQ approach: theory building across disciplines using realist evaluation science and QCA

D Renmans

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Abstract

The last decades have seen an enormous growth in published research and evaluations, which makes it difficult for a researcher to stay up-to-date in their own field, let alone complement their knowledge with insights from other fields. In this paper we give an elaborate overview of a methodology that aims to tackle this task. It builds on the realist evaluation science approach and combines it with qualitative comparative analysis (QCA), hence its name: the ResQ approach. Central to the approach are generative mechanisms that can be found across fields, domains, sectors and contexts. The approach sets out to synthesize the evidence on the circumstances linked to the triggering of these mechanisms. QCA is used to identify the most relevant conditions, leading to theories around these mechanisms, called ‘mechanism concepts’. New studies can test, and refine the mechanism concepts, setting up a continuous cycle of theory-building across disciplines enabling us to learn from other fields, disciplines and contexts in a systematic way.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Social Research Methodology
Volume26
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)469-482
Number of pages14
ISSN1364-5579
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Realism
  • Mechanism
  • Qualitative comparative analysis
  • Research synthesis
  • Theory building

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