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SCPHRP seminar series No. 10: A theory-based evaluation: realist evaluation

SCPHRP seminar series No. 10: A theory-based evaluation: realist evaluation

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Evaluation on Keyboard source:

Location: Online (Zoom:

Time: 10-11am Tuesday 19th March 2024

Abstract: Realist evaluation is a methodological approach to evaluate complex interventions that focuses on understanding not just whether a programme or intervention works, but how it works in specific contexts and for whom. It seeks to uncover the underlying mechanisms that explain the intended or unintended outcomes.  The focus of Realist evaluation is the exploration of Context-Mechanism-Outcome configurations (CMOCs) in order to refine explanations of how a programme works.

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  • Importance of theory-based evaluation approaches
  • Philosophical basis of realist evaluation
  • Concepts of ‘Contexts’, ‘Mechanisms’, and ‘Outcomes’
  • Stages involved in building, testing and refining programme theory
  • An application of realist evaluation using a PhD project


  • Dr. Larry Doi: Larry is a Senior Lecturer and one of the Co-Directors of the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy (SCPHRP), UoE. He has experience of using Realist Evaluation in several research projects.
  • Mengying Zhang: Mengying is a final year PhD candidate in Nursing Studies. Her PhD project is using realist evaluation to explore how smoking cessation apps help Chinese smokers stop smoking.
  • Chair: Dr Catherine Clarissa

Recording link:

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