I'm glad that you enjoyed the workshop, I did too!
I've found that Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) (Checkland and Scholes, 1992) fits very well with Realist evaluation. I'm just beginning to write a journal article on this, but it may be some time before it's published. I used SSM in my thesis and hope to use it again in the future.
SSM maps are visual tools to collect and make sense of data. They formulate carefully built models of systems which are used to represent and analyse a real world situation. The maps created are set against perceptions of the real world by a process of comparison which initiates debate between participants (Checkland and Scholes 1992). The epistemology of SSM is similar to that of realism in that the building of models accounts for the phenomenon being examined and these models are hypothetical descriptions which reveal underlying mechanisms of reality which can only be known by constructing ideas about them (Blaikie 2007).
I imagine that SSM would work equally well with Realist synthesis, in terms of mapping your programme theories and refining them.
I'm sure others in the RAMESES group have lots of other suggestions as well.
Dr Sonia Dalkin
Research Fellow in Healthcare Evaluation
School of Sociology and Social Policy
University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9UT
0113 343 4950
From: Realist and Meta-narrative Evidence Synthesis: Evolving Standards [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Susan Somerville (Staff)
Sent: 10 March 2015 15:55
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: another post Liverpool question
Hi Sue, I'd like to echo your comments regards last week's course, it was extremely helpful for me as a novice exploring Realism, so thanks especially to Justin for sharing your expertise, and also to Sonia Dalkin who's knowledge and experience we benefitted from.
My questions which Justin encouraged me to post is following on from a discussion that arose last week which was about using other methodologies to pursue a study after a Realist Synthesis - do some/any other methodologies work within or alongside realist methodology? Which other methodologies do or not 'fit', and as we discussed last week Realism uses retroduction so if other methodologies use retroduction, is this the key to the 'fit'?
University of Dundee
From: Realist and Meta-narrative Evidence Synthesis: Evolving Standards [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Suemann
Sent: 09 March 2015 13:06
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Mechanisms in realist evaluation of systems
First to say thank you to justin Jagosh for very stimulating course in liverpool last week - and for inspiring me to be brave enough to post here.
I am a relatively new recruit to realism and have been plunged into a complex realist evaluation of a health systems research project designed to design, implement and evaluate a range of (different) post partum care packages in four African countries. I am drawing on trish greenhalgh's methodology for evaluating the south london modernisation initiative. I have found the approach of looking at supportive/ unsupportive contexts for the mechanisms fits well here but I am unsure how the overarching selected mechanisms for systems are related to the way we look at individual level evaluations and individual level reactions such as fear, empowerment or motivation etc.
Can anyone advise ( I hope this makes sense!).
Finally to say we are starting a small skype-based journal club as a way of building skills for some of us earlier on in using the methodology. If any of you experts out there would be happy to join us occasionally that would be fantastic.
Thanks for any help
UCL NIHR knowledge mobilisation fellow
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