1st Edition

Realist Evaluation Principles and Practice

Edited By Ana Manzano, Emma Williams Copyright 2025
    276 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    276 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Realist Evaluation: Principles and Practice offers a comprehensive exploration of contemporary realist evaluation, showcasing how skilled practitioners navigate diverse fieldwork contexts.

    Authored by experts spanning academia and evaluation backgrounds across five continents in fields including climate change, criminology, health, and international development, the book provides a rich tapestry of perspectives. Covering participatory approaches, digital and visual data collection, interpreter-mediated interviews, and innovative methods like refuse data analysis, the authors delve into contemporary social research methodologies while addressing core issues such as power, insider/outsider research, the nature of evidence, critical and scientific realism philosophies of science, and confirmation bias in qualitative research. Practical advice is provided in areas such as developing a topic guide, combining a realist review with an evaluation, and managing large, multi-site cross-national projects. This collection underscores the creative nature of the realist imagination, highlighting ongoing innovations by scholars and evaluators.

    With contributions from an outstanding group of internationally renowned experts in realist evaluation, this is the ideal text for students, researchers and professionals including policy makers, professional evaluators, and those at organisations such as thinktanks and NGOs, who require an accessible guide on how to use realist evaluation methods.

    Introduction: The Context of Realist Data Collection

    Ana Manzano and Emma Williams


    1. Testing realist hypotheses: The Value of Diverse Evidence, including Unobtrusive Measures

    Troy Allard, Susan Rayment-McHugh and Nick Tilley


    2. A Realist Understanding of Bias in Qualitative Data Collection

    Ana Manzano


    3. Nothing as Practical as an Analytical Strategy in Realist Evaluation: Findings and Recommendations from a Comprehensive Review

    Steffen Bohni Nielsen and Sebastian Lemire


    4. Combining Realist Reviews with Realist Evaluations

    Geoff Wong, Jo Howe, Maura MacPhee and Ian Maidment


    5. Managing Abundance Rigorously: Quality in Realist Evaluation with Extensive Qualitative Data

    Charles Michaelis


    6. Realist Interviewing for Novice Realist Evaluators

    Jo Howe


    7. Realist Interviews in Global Health Research: Case Studies and Comparative Analysis with Similar Interview Approaches

    Sara Van Belle, Prashanth N Srinivas, Tom Cornu, Pragati Hebbar, Ibukun O. Abejirinde and Bruno Marchal


    8. Realist Data Collection in Less Familiar Settings: Exploring Challenges and Strategies

    Brynne Gilmore and Nadege Sandrine Uwamahoro


    9. Qualitative Realist Interviews using Online Video Technology: Challenges and Opportunities

    Emma Williams


    10. Lessons from Realist Evaluations in Canada: Advancing Programme Theory through Patient-Oriented Research Approaches

    Tracey Carr and Gary Groot


    11. The Realist Topic Guide

    Sam Redgate and Sonia Dalkin


    12. Developing a Recipe for Realist Interviewing using Critical Realist Ingredients

    Catherine Hastings


    13. Theorising through the Lens: Introducing a Realist Photovoice Technique

    Ferdinand C. Mukumbang and Sara Dada


    Ana Manzano is an Associate Professor in Public Policy at University of Leeds, UK

    Emma Williams is an Associate Professor in the Realist Research, Evaluation and Learning Initiative at Charles Darwin University, Australia

    "Many years ago, Charles Wright Mills implored us to remember that doing social research was not a matter of blindly following set designs and routinised procedures. It requires a generous application of the sociological imagination. In Manzano and Williams’s collection we discover the same creative motif. In example after example, we gain insight on the resourcefulness of the realist imagination." -- Ray Pawson