I believe that we are in a much stronger position now than we have been for many years, provided that we are: Realist in acknowledging the actuality of an independent, causally efficacious world while recognizing the limitations on our access to it.Systemic and interdisciplinary because the world is a complex intertwining or lamination of many kinds of mechanisms—physical, biological, psychological, social, political, economic—that interact in complex non-linear ways.Empirical or evidence-based in accepting the importance of data and information and its analysis, especially when there is so much of it available—‘big data’ and analytics—while recognizing the limitations of both the data itself and purely empiricist analyses of it.Interpretive in accepting that in the social world individuals and groups to some extent construct their own interpretations and valuations, and that we must understand and pay due attention to this in researching and in resolving problems.Multimethodological … we need to be eclectic in our use of methods and methodologies in both research and in practical interventions, and much more interdisciplinary in our use of theory.Critical and committed in recognizing the unavoidable ethical and moral dimensions to all our decisions and actions, and not hiding behind technocratic, managerialist or positivist arguments that they are somehow ‘value-free’.
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