Massey, Doreen and Wield, David
Science parks: a concept in science, society, and 'space' (a realist tale).
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 10(4) pp. 411–422.
In this paper we report on one aspect of 'methodology' as developed in a recent research project. The project was an investigation of the implications of science parks as they are currently being developed in the United Kingdom. And the issue which is reported here is that of conceptualisation -- how to conceptualise the central object of study: the science park. A comparison is made between the 'popular' definition and one which was arrived at during the research project. This latter mode of conceptualisation follows a broadly critical-realist approach, and we draw out the causal powers which are associated with the definition. This enables a different form of policy-evaluation from the usual empirical assessment of 'outcomes'. The discussion of this particular case also allows a number of other reflections on the debate around the realist approach to research.
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