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

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.
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Submitted on : Monday, September 9, 2019 - 9:28:01 AM
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Richard Heeks, Angelica Ospina, P. Wall. Combining Pragmatism and Critical Realism in ICT4D Research: An e-Resilience Case Example. 15th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries (ICT4D), May 2019, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. pp.14-25, ⟨10.1007/978-3-030-19115-3_2⟩. ⟨hal-02281318⟩

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