Realist reviews, realist analyses, realist evaluations, realist syntheses / realist meta-narratives, and the general term “realist approaches” appear increasingly in the medical, nursing and care literature. Here are some explanations of this terminology and the associated general approach(es) to the investigation / understanding of complexity.
“ …realist evaluation and realist reviews are research approaches that explicitly and coherently link context to outcomes and set out to tackle the issues of complexity. They do so by having a simple analytic logic, context + mechanism = outcome”. (p.2).
Free resources supporting realist evaluations and reviews are available from the RAMESES Projects website.
Wong, G. (2017). Getting to grips with context and complexity – the case for realist approaches. Gaceta Sanitaria. July 20th 2017. [Epub ahead of print].
More detailed information:
Welch, VA. [and] Tricco, AC. (2016). Reporting guidelines for realist evaluations seek to improve clarity and transparency. BMC Medicine. July 21st 2016; 14(1): 109. Full Text Link.
Wong, G. Westhorp, G. [and] Manzano, A. [et al] (2016). RAMESES II reporting standards for realist evaluations. BMC Medicine. June 24th 2016; 14(1): 96. Full Text Link.
Greenhalgh, T. Wong, G. [and] Jagosh, J. [et al] (2016). Protocol – the RAMESES II study: developing guidance and reporting standards for realist evaluation. BMJ Open. August 3rd 2015; 5(8): e008567. Full Text Link.
Wong, G. Greenhalgh, T. Westhorp, G. [and] Pawson, R. (2016). Development of methodological guidance, publication standards and training materials for realist and meta-narrative reviews: the RAMESES (Realist And Meta-narrative Evidence Syntheses – Evolving Standards) project. Health Services and Delivery Research. September 2014; 2(30) / Southampton (UK): NIHR Journals Library, September 2014. Full Text Link. (Huge file).
Wong, G. Greenhalgh, T. [and] Westhorp, G. [et al] (2016). RAMESES publication standards: meta-narrative reviews. BMC Medicine. January 29th 2013; 11: 20. Full Text Link.
Greenhalgh, T. Wong, G. Westhorp, G. [and] Pawson, R. (2016). Protocol – realist and meta-narrative evidence synthesis: evolving standards (RAMESES). BMC Medical Research Methodology. August 16th 2011; 11: 115. Full Text Link.