A critical realist knowledge production: Enhancing a Potential-oriented Approach

Mikael Stigendal, Andreas Novy

Publication: Working/Discussion PaperWU Working Paper


This article explores the implications of founding transdisciplinary collaborations
of knowledge production in critical realism. We call such equal partnerships of
researchers and practitioners knowledge alliances. Using the distinction between
the referents that we refer to (what our research is about) and our references (our
research about that), we show that practitioners can contribute to the process of
knowledge production by providing access to referents and producing references
but also by achieving relevance. Researchers and practitioners bring different types
of knowledge. To become excellent, knowledge production should be organized in
ways, which engage these different types in a constructive interplay. We call this
approach potential-oriented, which we put in contrast to the empiricism of
evidence-based research and policy-making. Our deliberate choice of the term
potential-oriented reflects the shifts in philosophy suggested by critical realism,
but also a sensitivity for how practitioners communicate and express themselves.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationVienna
PublisherWU Vienna University of Economics and Business
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameSRE - Discussion Papers

WU Working Paper Series

  • SRE - Discussion Papers

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