From here to Realism:Choosing realist methodology for your PhD study

Jones, P. and Williams, L. and Burton, C.R. and Rycroft-Malone, J. (2014) From here to Realism:Choosing realist methodology for your PhD study. In: The 1st International Conference on Realist Approaches to Evaluation and Synthesis, 2014-10-272014-10-30, Liverpool University.

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Abstract

In recent years, there have been calls for researchers to consider different approaches to managing the complexity that is inherent within health systems (Marchal et al, 2012). Using complexity theory, reality can be understood as “comprising multiple nested open systems in which change is generative, context-dependent and time irreversible” (Westhrop, 2012: 406). In health and social science research, the choice of methodology for student projects is important as emphasis is increasingly placed on what works and why in different contexts, rather than a preoccupation with finding out if interventions work. Concern has been expressed about the fit of traditional paradigm-based approaches to examining complex social programmes/interventions. For example, the appropriateness of the RCT in open systems has been questioned (Porter & O’Halloran, 2011), and a constructivist enquiry might miss “structural and institutional features of society which are in some respects independent of the individuals’ reasoning and desires” (Pawson & Tilley: 1997: 23). We will present a themed paper to provide a debate about choosing realist methodology for student projects, and provide a reflective account of our own journeys. Using short film clips, we will introduce the thought processes that represent our early experiences and the trail that led us to embrace the realist methodology. In between the short film clips we will present perspectives around switching points that lead to methodological decision-making, these include: • Individual background/perspectives • Complexity of topic areas • Traditional researcher teaching • Supervisors and supervision process • Research purpose In conclusion, this paper should trigger discussion about the phases that concern current students and consider types of support that are available when using realist methodologies.

Item Type: Contribution to Conference (Paper)
Journal or Publication Title: The 1st International Conference on Realist Approaches to Evaluation and Synthesis
Departments: Faculty of Health and Medicine
ID Code: 135200
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 10 Jul 2019 10:20
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2019 13:47
URI: https://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/135200

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