A Master Class in Realist Synthesis

How do we synthesize diverse evidence about complicated and complex interventions?  I think that the relatively new technique of realist synthesis offers considerable promise and there is growing attention to this by governments in the UK, Australia and Canada (and maybe elsewhere?).   Realist synthesis (Pawson, 2006) is a form of theory driven, qualitative, systematic review of literature and evidence.  It applies the same theoretical principles as realist evaluation (Pawson and Tilley, 1997), a research and evaluation framework which was developed to explain complicated and complex patterns of outcomes of policy initiatives.  Realist synthesis samples a wide variety of literature to develop, refine and test theories about how, for whom and in what contexts policies and programs will be effective.

I’m going to attend a 2 day Master Class in Realist Synthesis by Dr Geoff Wong (University College London) in Adelaide , Australia  Wednesday 24th & Thursday 25th February 2010.   The course is being organised by Community Matters, an Adelaide-based consultancy company specialising in realist methodologies.    (If you’re interested in the course, contact Dr Gill Westhorp Community Matters gill@communitymatters.com.au )  I’ll post a report after the course.

To find out more about realist synthesis you can check out some introductory material from Ray Pawson on his site and from a presentation.

1 comment to A Master Class in Realist Synthesis

  • What is your “take” on using realist approach to research synthesis for policy or for evaluation, for that matter. I’ve been playing around with the approach for a while and am currently looking at a realist framework to bring together some multi-measures, sort of like using an armature for modeling. I have a couple of posts on my blog about an adaptation I made of P & T’s basic formulation.