This unit introduces students to the philosophical assumptions of a realist philosophy of science and their implications for understanding how policies and programs work. The implications of those assumptions for specific methods in design, data collection, data analysis and reporting in realist evaluation, realist literature review and other forms of realist research are critically examined. Students practice applying skills in designing realist evaluation or research, developing instruments, sample selection, realist interviewing, qualitative and quantitative analysis, and reading evidence from a realist perspective. International reporting and quality standards for realist evaluation and for realist review will be used as tools for self-assessment of their work and as a tool for feedback from staff. This unit is offered as a five-day intensive program in Study Period 2.
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