A Realist Approach, Research Design and Engagement in Supporting Researchers. Joseph Maxwell in Conversation With Mechthild Kiegelmann


  • Joseph A. Maxwell George Mason University
  • Mechthild Kiegelmann Pädagogische Hochschule Karlsruhe




qualitative research, teaching, research design, realism, mixed methods, ecological validity, analytical generalization


In conversation with Mechthild KIEGELMANN, Joseph MAXWELL talked about his academic pathway. MAXWELL mentioned biographical phases such as being lost in the field as a young scholar of anthropology, working as a researcher in medical education, teaching at Harvard or getting tenure at George Mason University where he worked for 20 years. He introduced key milestones of his work: his design model, realist approach or validity in qualitative research and generalization. MAXWELL talked about important colleagues and commented on overcome divides between quantitative and qualitative positions. Readers get a glance of his passion about philosophy. His humility and commitment to teaching shone through.


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Author Biographies

Joseph A. Maxwell, George Mason University

Joseph MAXWELL is a researcher and methodologist whose works include the books "Qualitative Research Design: An Interactive Approach" (3rd ed., 2013, Sage) and "A Realist Approach for Qualitative Research" (2012, Sage), as well as many papers on research methods, both qualitative and quantitative. He is a professor emeritus at George Mason University, USA with a focus on research methodology. His work on qualitative research design and on realist approach to research has been very influential within the field of qualitative social research. He served on more than 1.000 dissertation committees and has supported a huge number of students.

Mechthild Kiegelmann, Pädagogische Hochschule Karlsruhe

Mechthild KIEGELMANN is a professor of psychology at Karlsruhe University of Education. In her current work, she focuses on attention to social context in research methodology and on psychological development of LGBTIQ+ people. She is the initiator and past president of the international Center for Qualitative Psychology. She met Joseph MAXWELL as a doctoral student in his class on research design in the early 1990s.


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How to Cite

Maxwell, J. A., & Kiegelmann, M. (2023). A Realist Approach, Research Design and Engagement in Supporting Researchers. Joseph Maxwell in Conversation With Mechthild Kiegelmann. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 24(2). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-24.2.4070

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