Realist reviews are conducted to answer research questions about how and why a program does or does not work by exploring the contexts and mechanisms that lead to captured evidence of outcomes. Realist reviews begin with a theory of change designed from program documentation, existing literature, or expert stakeholder experience. Realist reviews result in refined theories that influence future iterations of program design and implementation.
Not sure this is the right review type to answer your research question(s)?
Click Types of Reviews to help you decide.
STRENGTHS + WEAKNESSES
Aims to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions in context
Answers questions about what intervention works, for whom, how, and in what circumstances?
Understanding mechanisms is the core feature of realist review, but there is no consensus on a single definition
Synthesizing both quantitative and qualitative data can be challenging
Data analysis and synthesis is time intensive
Identifying context, mechanism, and outcome configurations can be challenging
ROLA AJJAWI, PhD
Rola Ajjawi, PhD, is Associate Professor Education Research at the Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning, Deakin University, Australia where she leads a program of research investigating clinical supervision, feedback and belonging. She draws from a range of methodological and theoretical perspectives to understand the hidden social, cultural and relational factors that influence becoming a healthcare professional.
FIONA KENT, PhD
Fiona Kent, PhD, is the Director Collaborative Care and Work Integrated Learning in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Australia. She completed her Masters in Health Professional Education investigating patient perspectives of student led care and her PhD in interprofessional student education. Her work and research focuses on the development and evaluation of interprofessional curriculum.