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Health Care Analysis

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 259–277 | Cite as

Philosophical Problems with Social Research on Health Inequalities

  • Steven P. WainwrightEmail author
  • Angus Forbes
Article

Abstract

This paper offers a realist critique of socialresearch on health inequalities. A conspectus of thefield of health inequalities research identifies twomain research approaches: the positivist quantitativesurvey and the interpretivist qualitative `casestudy'. We argue that both approaches suffer fromserious philosophical limitations. We suggest that aturn to realism offers a productive `third way' bothfor the development of health inequality research inparticular and for the social scientific understandingof the complexities of the social world in general.

epistemology health inequalities interpretivism ontology positivism realism social research 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research in Health & Social Care Section, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing, King's College LondonUniversity of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Research in Health & Social Care Section, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing, King's College LondonUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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