A Spotlight on Realism Leeds Seminar - Randomised Controlled Trials and Realist Evaluation: In What Contexts and How?

It is widely agreed that, if the aim is to inform policy and practice, randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of complex interventions should be coupled with process evaluations.

Realist evaluation provides a strong theoretical foundation to explore complex interventions, using a process of eliciting, testing, and refining stakeholders’ theories of how an intervention works, for whom, and in what contexts. There is debate about the relationship between realist evaluation and RCTs. One concern is that RCTs take place in closely controlled contexts and so do not allow for exploration of how different contexts shape the outcomes of an intervention.

In this presentation, we will draw on our experience of undertaking a three-phase realist process evaluation alongside an RCT comparing robotic and laparoscopic surgery to address two methodological questions: (1) To what types of trials can realist evaluation make a meaningful contribution?; and (2) How is that contribution best achieved?

Location Details

Seminar Room 12.21
Social Sciences Building
University of Leeds

View campus map