Introduction to Realist Approaches

Sonia Dalkin, Emma Williams

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review


This half day program will introduce the key concepts that underpin realist approaches, with special emphasis on evaluation and literature reviews. Realist evaluation has been developed to investigate and explain how and why programs and polices work differently for different people or in different contexts. Realist review applies the same underlying principles to the synthesis of existing literature and evidence. The workshop will have interactive exercises to show how realist evaluations and realist literature reviews differ from other approaches in their intent, design and analysis. The workshop is designed for people who want to determine how – and if – realist approaches might work for them, and to build understanding of basic concepts and terminology before participating in the CARES conference. It will also provide opportunities to share ideas and questions, and to establish networks prior to the conference. Associate Professor Emma Williams is Principal Scientist of Evaluation and Knowledge Impact at the Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University, Australia. She previously worked in government, including a stint as Director of Social Policy with the Northern Territory Government, where she was involved in program design as well as policy development. Before being introduced to realist approaches, she struggled with how to determine which aspects of ‘what works’ in other jurisdictions might apply in Northern Territory contexts. She is currently conducting a number of realist and realist informed evaluations and research projects, primarily in northern Australia and eastern Indonesia, and was a Delphi panel member for the RAMESES II Project.


ConferenceCentre for the Advancement of Realist Evaluation and Synthesis (CARES) Pre-Conference 2016
Period3/10/16 → …
Internet address


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