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Course Catalog

308.841.98 SS/R: Realist Methods: Synthesis and Evaluation

Health Policy and Management
2nd term
3 credits
Academic Year:
2013 - 2014
Barcelona, Spain
Thu 11/28/2013 - Sat 11/30/2013
Class Times:
  • Th F Sa,  8:30am - 6:00pm
Auditors Allowed:
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Judy Holzer
Frequency Schedule:
One Year Only

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 Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Discuss the development of realist methods as an approach to understanding complex social interventions
  2. Explain what realist synthesis and evaluation are, including strengths and weaknesses
  3. Explore when and why realist synthesis and evaluation are useful
  4. Describe the relationship between program theory and evaluation study design
  5. Explore the core steps needed to conduct a realist synthesis and a realist evaluation
  6. 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

Instructor Consent:

Consent required for some students

Consent Note:

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

For consent, contact: