Combining Pragmatism and Critical Realism in ICT4D Research: An e-Resilience Case Example

Richard Heeks, Angelica V. Ospina, P. J. Wall

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Abstract

ICT4D research is strongly oriented to practice but hardly ever explicitly uses the research paradigm of pragmatism. We argue that, though highly-relevant to ICT4D, pragmatism suffers some shortcomings in terms of its philosophy of the world, explanatory power, truth-testing, and values. We suggest that "pragmatist-critical realism" - a novel research paradigm combining pragmatism and critical realism - can address these shortcomings and provide a valuable foundation for ICT4D research; particularly action-oriented research. We outline a four-step operational methodology for pragmatist-critical realism based on a research project that created an "e-resilience" action plan applying ICTs to strengthen resilience of farming communities in Uganda. We hope other action- and design-oriented ICT4D researchers will be encouraged to assess whether pragmatist-critical realism could form a useful basis for their future research.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInformation and Communication Technologies for Development
EditorsPetter Nielsen, Honest Christopher Kimaro
PublisherSpringer Nature
Pages14-25
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9783030191146
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event15th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries - Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, United Republic of
Duration: 1 May 20193 May 2019

Publication series

NameIFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology
Volume552
ISSN (Print)1868-4238

Conference

Conference15th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries
Abbreviated titleICT4D 2019
Country/TerritoryTanzania, United Republic of
CityDar es Salaam
Period1/05/193/05/19

Keywords

  • Critical realism
  • ICT4D
  • Methodology
  • Pragmatism
  • Resilience

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute
  • Manchester Urban Institute

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