Bringing together leading theorists, researchers and policy makers with expertise in using realist methods, this book is a definitive guide to putting realist methodologies into practice.
Not just an overview of the field, this book looks to extend current debates and apply realist methods to new and practical challenges in social research. Featuring practical, worked examples of how to turn theory into evidence, it empowers readers not just to understand realist methods, but to use them.
It will help readers:
- Negotiate the complexity of relational systems
- Understand the importance and relevance of cumulative theory
- Address concerns over data sources and quality
- Be flexible and creative in realist approaches
- Produce useful evidence for policy.
Sophisticated and globally minded, this book is the perfect addition to the ongoing development and application of realist methods across evaluation, synthesis, and social research.
Nick Emmel teaches research methods and the sociology and social policy of international health and health care at the School of Sociology and Social Policy, the University of Leeds. He has conducted extensive research in the UK and India interpreting and explaining processes of vulnerability, with a focus on inequalities and inequities in health. Joanne Greenhalgh's current research has focused on applying realist evaluation and realist synthesis to the evaluation of healthcare policy and practice. She was a member of the RAMESES II project team to develop training material and reporting standards for realist evaluation.
Introduction: Doing realist evaluation, synthesis and research - Nick Emmel, Joanne Greenhalgh, Ana Manzano, Mark Monaghan, and Sonia Dalkin Chapter 1: The middle range methodology of realist evaluation - Nick Tilley Chapter 2: Making up mechanisms in realist research - Malcolm Williams Realists need mechanisms, so what are they? The epistemology and ontology of mechanisms Measurement and evidence Some mechanisms Chapter 3: Understanding mechanisms in realist evaluation and research - Gill Westhorp Constructs of mechanism Mechanisms in evaluation Open systems Alternate constructs of mechanism Powers and liabilities Interactions Processes Reasoning and resources Multiple constructs of mechanism Mechanisms and the context-mechanism relationship Chapter 4: Making claims using realist methods - Brad Astbury Historical context Conducting realist evaluation: an illustration The set-up Enter middle-range theory Tricks of the realist trade Chapter 5: Theory and realist methods - Bruno Marchal, Guy Kegels and Sara Van Belle Using realist evaluation in HPSR in low-resource settings With which theory to start? How to elicit the initial programme theory Chapter 6: Researching complex large scale nested interventions - David Byrne Large scale interventions Defining boundaries Traces of the conditions of a system Chapter 7: Using realist approaches to explain the costs and cost-effectiveness of programmes - Rob Anderson, Rebecca Hardwick, Mark Pearson, and Richard Byng What are realist evaluations? What are economic evaluations? How are they different from realist evaluation? Measurement vs explanation/theory-building Creating localised vs generalizable knowledge What would more explanatory economic evaluation look like? Programme theories of cost-effectiveness - a worked example Refining the theories of cost-effectiveness Chapter 8: Data gathering for realist reviews - Geoff Wong Gathering data Relevant data Programme theory Rigour, data `quality' and more... Chapter 9: Scoping and searching to support realist approaches - Andrew Booth, Judy Wright and Simon Briscoe The "realist search" and synthesis Complementary searching techniques The role of the information specialist in supporting realist approaches Elements of a "realist search" Sources of programme theories Chapter 10: Evidence from realist research, its influence and impact - Mark Monaghan and Annette Boaz Impact debates The emergence of the systematic review Considering the emergence and reach of realist review Some provisional lessons from and for realist review Analysing impact Chapter 11: Realist research, guidelines and the politics of evidence - Mike Kelly EBM, clinical medicine and public health Epistemic shifts Developing the evidence base and guidelines in public health in practice Guideline development Realism and EBM meet realpolitik Chapter 12: Realist memorabilia - Ray Pawson The test of time CMO revisited Utilisation