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Course Catalog


Term: 2nd term
Credits: 3 credits
Contact: Judy Holzer
Academic Year: 2013 - 2014

Introduces students to the main empirical application of the realist approach, namely 'realist synthesis' and 'realist evaluation'. Focuses on the logic and key ingredients of each approach with examples of how they have been applied internationally in complex policy interventions. Students also explore specific issues relating to the past or future application of realist synthesis and evaluation in their own research and share insights from their own experience.

Learning Objective(s):
Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
Discuss the development of realist methods as an approach to understanding complex social interventions
Explain what realist synthesis and evaluation are, including strengths and weaknesses
Explore when and why realist synthesis and evaluation are useful
Describe the relationship between program theory and evaluation study design
Explore the core steps needed to conduct a realist synthesis and a realist evaluation
Examine the application of realist methods across the research and impact cycle

Methods of Assessment: class participation (10%), group project (10%), and a final paper (80%) examining the application of realist methods to a specific policy issue
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Class Times:
  • Thu 11/28/2013 - Sat 11/30/2013
  • Thursday 8:30 - 6:00
  • Friday 8:30 - 6:00
  • Saturday 8:30 - 6:00
Enrollment Minimum: 10
Instructor Consent: Consent required for some students

Full-time JHSPH students must obtain consent from Judy Holzer or Pam Davis in HPM prior to registering for this course.

For consent, contact:
Auditors Allowed: No
Grading Restriction: Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Frequency Schedule: One Year Only
Next Offered: 2014-2015