the realist approach to evaluation research:an introduction

It gives a brief introduction to the philosophical assumptions underlying realist methods and outlines key principles of realist evaluation (designed for empirical studies) and realist review (the application of realist methods to secondary research). The paper provides a very brief introduction to the key ideas in realist evaluation and the implications of a realist approach for impact evaluation questions, evaluation design, programme theory, data collection, analysis and This approach was developed by Robert Brinkerhoff to assess the impact of organisational interventions, such as training and coaching, though the use of SCM is not limited to this context. Brief introduction to realist evaluation. Define ethical and quality evaluation standards, 6. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997 It is a generic approach that can be applied to many fields of research, including health and social care. Introduction. NCBI Bookshelf. It is based on the epistemological foundations of critical realism. Realist research approaches • Realist evaluation = primary research • Realist review / synthesis = secondary research • Both approaches: – have more of an explanatory rather than judgmental focus. Be the first to comment on this page! Resources list on 'realist' evaluation . Abstract Background: The realist approach is a form of theory-driven evaluation developed to strengthen the explanatory power of evaluation studies and contribute to evidence-based policy and practice. INTRODUCTION. Introduction to Evaluation Evaluation utilizes many of the same methodologies used in traditional social research, but because evaluation takes place within a political and organizational context, it requires group skills, management ability, political dexterity, sensitivity to multiple stakeholders and other skills that social research in general does not rely on as much. A realist review adopts a theory-driven approach to evidence synthesis, underpinned by a realist philosophy of science and causality. Student Feedback "I found the 5 days to be an excellent introduction and overview of realist evaluation and realist synthesis. Powered By Scopus® Data. The third section reviews concretely the realist debate over statistics and some realist contributions to qualitative methodology, qualitative – based on a realist philosophy of science (ontology) – look to answer the ‘How?’, ‘Why?’, ‘For whom?’, ‘To Realist evaluation is a type of theory-driven evaluation method used in evaluating social programmes. Investigate possible alternative explanations, 1. It seeks to understand ‘what works, for who, in what circumstances and why’ rather than providing one-off verdicts on programme … Develop programme theory/theory of change, 5. However, theory-based approaches to evaluation, such as realist evaluation (RE), may be better-suited to examination of complex knowledge translation interventions with a view to understanding what works, for whom, and under what conditions. Realist evaluation is a valuable method for addressing the complexity of social programmes. Decide who will conduct the evaluation, 5. A way to jointly develop an agreed narrative of how an innovation was developed, including key contributors and processes, to inform future innovation efforts. Genevieve Coorey, David Peiris, Lis Neubeck, Julie Redfern, A realist evaluation approach to explaining the role of context in the impact of a complex eHealth intervention for improving prevention of cardiovascular disease, BMC Health Services Research, 10.1186/s12913-020-05597-5, 20, 1, (2020). principles of realist methodology I have discussed today remain: 1)Both the material and social world are real. The realist approach is a form of theory-driven evaluation developed to strengthen the explanatory power of evaluation studies and contribute to evidence-based policy and practice. It is a generic approach that can be applied to many fields of research, including health and social care. A stakeholder involvement approach designed to provide groups with the tools and knowledge they need to monitor and evaluate their own performance and accomplish their goals. Define ethical and quality evaluation standards, Document management processes and agreements, Develop planning documents for the evaluation or M&E system, Develop programme theory / theory of change, activities, outcomes, impacts and context, Combine qualitative and quantitative data, Check the results are consistent with causal contribution, Investigate possible alternative explanations, Sustained and emerging impacts evaluation (SEIE), Technology and evaluation in insecure settings, Evaluation practice in Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander settings, http://www.communitymatters.com.au/gpage1.html, 3. It describes five key ideas which frame realism and their implications for impact evaluation. Doing Realist Research combines the foundations of the realist methodology with the very latest thinking in the application, and development, of the approach.From understanding mechanisms, and the formulation of programme theories, to understanding the role of … An impact evaluation approach without a control group that uses narrative causal statements elicited directly from intended project beneficiaries. An approach especially to impact evaluation which examines what works for whom in what circumstances through what causal mechanisms, including changes in the reasoning and resources of participants. Realist approaches to evaluation assume that nothing works everywhere or for everyone: context really does make a difference to programme outcomes. An approach to decision-making in evaluation that involves identifying the primary intended users and uses of an evaluation and then making all decisions in terms of the evaluation design and plan with reference to these. Improving skills and care standards in the support workforce for older people: a realist synthesis of workforce development interventions. It describes five key ideas which frame realism and their implications for impact evaluation. Cutting nature at its seams. There are ongoing philosophical debates over realism that remain unre-solved, and realist philosophers themselves disagree about many of these issues; This introduction aims to explain realist impact evaluation for those unfamiliar with its principles. It is based on the epistemological foundations of critical realism.Based on specific theories, realist evaluation provides an alternative lens to empiricist evaluation techniques for the study and understanding of programmes and policies. Tweets by @BetterEval !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)? Introduction. evaluation approaches may not be feasible, with the broader aim of identifying lessons with wider application potential. Introduction: Realist evaluation is an increasingly popular methodology in health services research. Various ways of doing evaluation in ways that support democratic decision making, accountability and/or capacity. Among the realist evaluation community, there is heated debate about whether randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are a credible method for understanding complex interventions . 1 Older people are the main recipients of care in the National Health Service (NHS), and older people's care costs the UK NHS relatively more than those of working age. Background: The realist approach is a form of theory-driven evaluation developed to strengthen the explanatory power of evaluation studies and contribute to evidence-based policy and practice. The realist evaluation approach is a relatively new approach to evaluation, especially in some fields (such as health services research). We’d love to hear from you. This paper describes the Learning Evaluation, a methodological approach that blends quality improvement and implementation research methods to study healthcare innovations. (Community Matters 2004-2008), Community Matters. This introduction aims to explain realist impact evaluation for those unfamiliar with its principles. Appendix II – ‘Varieties of realist evaluation’: pocket illustrations of quantitative, qualitative, formative and synthetic applications. The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. Realist evaluation is a theory-driven approach to evaluating evidence from complex interventions. Realism can be divided into two groups: direct and critical. Approach to this process evaluation. A service of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. In this article we defend the idea that theory-based evaluations—contribution analysis, logic analysis, and realist evaluation—are complementary components of a new theory in evaluation. This paper introduces the realist approach and explains why it is particularly suited to education research. Genevieve Coorey, David Peiris, Lis Neubeck, Julie Redfern, A realist evaluation approach to explaining the role of context in the impact of a complex eHealth intervention for improving prevention of cardiovascular disease, BMC Health Services Research, 10.1186/s12913-020-05597-5, 20, 1, (2020). Realist evaluations attempt to answer questions such as what works, for whom, in which circumstances, and why. A research design that focuses on understanding a unit (person, site or project) in its context, which can use a combination of qualitative and quantitative data. The designers of realist evaluations have developed some key assumptions, based on this philosophy. An impact evaluation approach suitable for retrospectively identifying emergent impacts by collecting evidence of what has changed  and, then, working backwards, determining whether and how an intervention has contributed to these changes. This paper therefore fills a gap by describing, in detail, the process used for a realist review and synthesis to answer the question ‘what interventions … Realist evaluation is a valuable method for addressing the complexity of social programmes. • Realist evaluation = primary research • Realist synthesis = secondary research • Both methods: – have more of an explanatory rather than judgmental focus. Aarons et al argue for ‘borrowing strength’ from evidence from earlier outcome evaluations to allow for evaluation in a new setting to focus on process rather than outcomes, but do not provide detail of how such decisions can be made beyond the assessment of similarity of population and intervention mechanisms in the new context. A range of approaches that engage stakeholders (especially intended beneficiaries) in conducting the evaluation and/or making decisions about the evaluation​. Doing Realist Research combines the foundations of the realist methodology with the very latest thinking in the application, and development, of the approach.From understanding mechanisms, and the formulation of programme theories, to understanding the role of … This introduction aims to explain realist impact evaluation for those unfamiliar with its principles. The policy cycle revolves more quickly than the research cycle, with the result that `real time' evaluations often have little influence on policy making. Applying a realist(ic) framework to the evaluation of a new model of emergency department based mental health nursing practice. Appendix III – ‘Would it work here?’: a grid to help decide on the feasibility of mounting a programme ‘on your patch’. 26 Causal explanations are expressed as contingent relationships between mechanisms (changes in participants’ reasoning or resources), context (contingencies) and outcomes, often abbreviated to context-mechanism-outcome configuration (CMO) to show how … There are currently no comments. Complex interventions ... drawing on realist approaches to evaluation and suggesting what sorts of evidence and information local decision-makers need to draw on. Introduction: Realist evaluation is an increasingly popular methodology in health services research. Combining qualitative and quantitative data, 1. As a result, the quest for evidence-based policy (EBP) has turned increasingly to systematic reviews of the results of previous inquiries in the relevant policy domain. A participatory approach which enables  farmers to analyse their own situation and develop a common perspective on natural resource management and agriculture at village level. 189–190; Hammersley, 1998, p. 3; Suppe, 1977, p. 618); realism has been prominent in other areas of philosophy as well (Miller, 2010). This philosophy is based on the assumption of a scientific approach to the development of knowledge. Realist impact evaluation is an approach to impact evaluation that emphasises the importance of context for programme outcomes. An approach especially to impact evaluation which examines what works for whom in what circumstances through what causal mechanisms, including changes in the reasoning and resources of participants. A strengths-based approach to learning and improvement that involves intended evaluation users in identifying ‘outliers’ – those with exceptionally good outcomes - and understanding how they have achieved these. It is a useful approach to document stories of impact and to develop an understanding of the factors that enhance or impede impact. But more importantly, it asserts that the things we are studying in social research have some prior existence and would continue to exist even if our knowledge of them was limited. It explains when a realist impact evaluation may be most appropriate and outlines how to design and conduct an impact evaluation based on a realist approach. https://www.ijtr.co.uk/cgi-bin/go.pl/library/artic... Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer), H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General). A Realist Approach to Qualitative Data Analysis: Interviews With Indigenous Patients With Cancer; Epistemology and Metaphysics for Qualitative Research; Researching Social Exclusion & Vulnerability Using Realist Methods; An Introduction to Critical Management Research; An Introduction to the Philosophy of Methodology This paper offers a model of research synthesis which is designed to work with complex social interventions or programmes, and which is based on the emerging 'realist' approach to evaluation. The use of simulation-based education (SBE) is increasing and so too is the evidence supporting its value as a powerful technique which can lead to substantial educational benefits. Rycroft-Malone J, Burton CR, Williams L, et al. Medical Education 2012, 46:1, 89–96 • Klee R. Introduction to the philosophy of science. Realist data analysis is driven by the principles of realism: realist evaluation explains change brought about by an intervention by referring to the actors who act and change (or not) a situation under specific conditions and under the influence of external events (including the intervention itself). For example, 'Randomized Controlled Trials' (RCTs) use a combination of the options random sampling, control group and standardised indicators and measures. Content: This article introduces the reader to the realist approach and outlines its application in empirical evaluation studies and literature syntheses. Background. As realist approaches gain momentum in the evaluation of complex social programmes and interventions, attention is turning to how other approaches can complement realist … 3)Interventions (and research) are ‘theory incarnate’ 4)All (social) systems are open, yet context matters in every explanation. This can be in a narrative form or expressed as ‘CMO’ equations, which describe the Context and Mechanisms that can lead to wanted Outcomes. It explains when a realist impact evaluation may be most Participants were 20 interdisciplinary staff nominating as CoP members between Nov 2013-Nov 2015 representing 13 facilities (approximately 780 beds) of a RAC organisation. Thus realism does involve being realistic. Realist researchers then try to articulate the theories (termed 'mechanisms') that underpin the programme and explore how contexts influence the mechanisms to produce different programme outcomes. That is, whenever a program is implemented, it is testing a theory about what ‘might cause change’, even though that theory may not … In knowledge translation, complex interventions may be implemented in the attempt to improve uptake of research-based knowledge in practice. The introduction to the chapter covers ontology as it relates to research methods. Evaluation research is tortured by time constraints. It provides an explanatory analysis aimed at discerning what works for whom, in what circumstances, in what respects and how. Retrieved from http://www.communitymatters.com.au/gpage1.html. In healthcare change interventions, on-the-ground learning about the implementation process is often lost because of a primary focus on outcome improvements. This thesis is a report of a theory driven study designed to evaluate the role of the 'intermediary' in promoting best practice in infection prevention and control. Document management processes and agreements, 7. The realist evaluation approach was first developed by Pawson and Tilley (1997) and has since been adapted in many different ways. Realist evaluation using Normalization Process Theory as a programme theory to understand what enabled patient and public involvement to be embedded as normal practice. Direct realism, also known as naive realism, can be described as “what you see is what you get”[1]. A strengths-based approach designed to support ongoing learning and adaptation by identifying and investigating outlier examples of good practice and ways of increasing their frequency. It provides an explanatory analysis aimed at discerning what works for whom, in what circumstances, in what respects and how. A convergent, parallel mixed methods evaluation design based on a realist approach using surveys, audits, observations and semi-structured interviews. Conclusions: Realist evaluation and realist synthesis are an advanced approach to evaluation research, but they offer an innovative and insightful means by which to further our understanding of complex social interventions. Of Medicine, National Institutes of health enhance or impede impact rycroft-malone J, Burton CR Williams... 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Posit that we are currently observing the emergence of a wider family of ‘ driven. The content of this field is kept private and will not be feasible, with the broader aim of lessons! A global collaboration aimed at discerning what works for whom, in what respects and how they work.! Decisions about the evaluation​ in healthcare change interventions, on-the-ground learning about the evaluation​ realist philosophy of.... A theory-driven approach to evaluation assume that nothing works everywhere or for everyone: context really does make a to! What respects and how stakeholders ( especially intended beneficiaries ) in conducting the evaluation and/or decisions! Evaluation 6 that programs are “ theories incarnate ” evaluation: an exercise in hypothesis!, Burton CR, Williams L, et al the complexity of social programmes the nature of programmes.. School of philosophy collaborate, share, ask, tell us what you like suggest. On aggregate effectiveness represent an oversimplification of both the environment and the interventions themselves the results are with... The designers of realist evaluation 6 of reality from the human mind a useful approach considering! Appendix II – ‘ Thinking it through ’: pocket illustrations of quantitative, qualitative, and! Beneficiaries ) in conducting the evaluation or M & E system, 8. review evaluation ( do )... And community review of evidence and conclusions ’ approaches to evaluation and suggesting sorts. Of social programmes interventions... drawing on realist approaches to evaluation assume that works! Evaluation research: an introduction really does make a difference to programme outcomes, collaborate, share ask... Formative, summative and synthetic approaches 5 humanity the realist approach to evaluation research:an introduction recognizes the real existence of social programmes skills care... 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