Introduction to Realist Methodology: Evaluation and Synthesis
Monday, February 11th & Tuesday, February 12th, 2019
University of Liverpool in London
33 Finsbury Square, London, UK
Realist methodology assists us in developing our skill for recognizing the observable and hidden forces that produce outcomes in complex interventions. In this 2-day workshop, participants will explore the advantages and challenges of using this methodology in evaluating or synthesizing evidence - to move past the question of ‘was it successful?’ to better understand how, for whom, and under what circumstances interventions produce their particular outcomes. This workshop is suitable for those new to the methodology or who are contemplating how it could be used, as well as those who are currently working on realist projects.
DAY 1 – Monday, February 11th, 2019
[9:45am - 1:00pm] Part A: Overview of Realist Philosophy and Principles of Realist Methodology
[1:00pm - 1:45pm] - Lunch (provided)
[1:45pm – 4:30pm] Part B: Understanding Programme Theories, Middle-Range Theories and the Context-Mechanism-Outcome Configuration
Day 1 will provide an orientation to realist methodology by identifying key papers in the literature, explaining fundamental methodology concepts, and touching upon the corresponding philosophy of Realism. Participants will gain an understanding of the underlying logic of realist methodology, a view of the mindset needed to use the approach, and a vision of the overall process of doing a realist evaluation or review. Two basic exercises will be provided for hands-on practice.
DAY 2 – Tuesday, February 12th, 2019
[9:45am – 1:00pm] Part C: Demi-regularities; Steps in Realist Synthesis
[1:00pm – 1:45pm] – Lunch (provided)
[1:45pm – 4:30pm] - Part D: Steps in Realist Evaluation and the Realist Qualitative Interview
Day 2 will introduce more advanced concepts with a focus on understanding mechanisms, context-mechanism-outcome configurations and realist theorizing. The morning session will focus on steps for realist synthesis, while the afternoon will focus on steps for realist evaluation. Those who are currently using realist methodology will be encouraged to share their challenges and insights and seek the advice of others. Those who are at the contemplation stage will be encouraged to develop their preliminary ideas. Those who would like to simply sit and listen in on the discussions are also welcome to do so.
Participants may enroll in one or more of any of the four workshops offered in the training week.