Understanding the underlying principles, processes and application of realist review and realist evaluation.
This module will provide participants with a firm grounding in realist review (or synthesis) and realist evaluation. Participants who have completed the course should then be able to apply their new knowledge and skills to their own realist research project, regardless of which field of research they come from. In health care and many other fields of research, interventions are often described as being complex and have outcomes that are dependent on context. When these complex interventions fail to achieve their desired outcomes, the explanation frequently provided is because they are both complex and context dependent. Realist research approaches (realist evaluation or realist review) can help make sense of these types of interventions or programmes. The approaches are theory driven – developing structurally coherent explanations of interventions and test these against empirical data. In realist evaluation the researcher or evaluator’s task is to gather the data – i.e. it is a form of primary research. Whereas in realist review the primary data comes from documents (e.g. studies, policy documents and so on) and so it is a form of secondary research.
The last date for receipt of complete applications is 5pm Friday 20th October 2023. Regrettably, late applications cannot be accepted.
The overall aims of the course are to enable students to:
- Appreciate the key underpinning principle of realism
- Understand the implications of taking a realist approach on knowledge claims and realist research project design and processes
- Be able to explain when a realist review or realist evaluation would be the correct approach to use
- Be able to describe the stages of a realist review and realist evaluation
- Be able to focus a realist review or evaluation
- Understand the role of programme theory in realist review and evaluation and be able to develop and refine one
- Know how to collect relevant data for realist reviews and realist evaluations
- Develop data extraction processes for realist reviews and realist evaluations
- Be confident in their ability to apply a realist logic of analysis to data
- Have an awareness of the challenges of developing and getting funding for a realist research project
- Be able to explain who and why to recruit to a realist research project team
- Describe and explain the pros and cons of using quality and publication standards in realist research
"I found the 5 days to be an excellent introduction and overview of realist evaluation and realist synthesis. The tutors are first class: confident, lucid, approachable, and patient. A strength of the course is that there was sufficient time reserved for discussion, feedback and joint-learning."