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The state of the art of realist methodologies: a two day conference

Wednesday 4th - Thursday 5th November 2015

The Leeds Club, Leeds City Centre

This two day conference brought together internationally recognised scholars from a wide range of disciplines to debate and advance realist methodologies and celebrate the innovative and ground-breaking work of emeritus Professor Ray Pawson.

Considerable innovation is happening in realist synthesis, evaluation, and mixed method research. There is compelling evidence of wide scale early adoption of realist methodologies across the human and social sciences.

Speakers included: Annette Boaz, Nick Emmel, Trish Greenhalgh, Joanne Greenhalgh, Justin Jagosh, Mike Kelly, Bruno Marchal, Ana Manzano, Mark Monaghan, Jane Nixon, Ray Pawson, Rebecca Randell, Jo Rycroft-Malone, Nick Tilley, Sara Van Belle, Rebecca Walwyn, Malcolm Williams, and Geoff Wong.

Key note sessions included: The zigzag of realist methodology; realist synthesis; multiple methods in realist research; policy, lessons from realist research; realist evaluation in international development; RCTs and realist evaluation.

There was a pre-conference event for PhD students and Early Career Academics on the day before to the conference. This event provided PhD students and Early Career Researchers with the chance to present their realist research to a receptive audience, providing a supportive platform to gain feedback on their work (whether in progress or complete). The event also provided a chance for networking prior to the conference. This event was led by Sonia Dalkin and Katy Wright.

Videos are available from day one and day two of the conference, as well as from the pre-conference event.

Conference Programme

Download the delegate pack here

Day One: Wednesday 4th November 2015
9.30-9.50 Registration
9.50 - 10.00 Welcome: The state of the art of realist methodologies
10.00 - 11.00 Gill Westhorp, Nick Emmel, and Ana Manzano - Metaphors and Method
11.00 - 11.30 Coffee
11.30 - 12.30 Joanne Greenhalgh, Geoff Wong, Mark Pearson, and Rebecca Hardwick - Protocols and standards in realist research: stifling innovation or enabling transparency?
12.30 - 2.30 Lunch
2.30 - 4.00 Justin Jagosh, Malcolm Williams, Sonia Dalkin and Monique Lhussier - Understanding, Debating, and Advancing the CMO configuration
4.00 - 6.55 Exploring the snikets, ginnels, snickleways and pubs of Leeds city centre (optional)
7.00 for 7.30 Conference dinner at the Crafthouse (Level 5 Trinity Leeds, 70 Boar Lane, Leeds, LS1 6HW)
Day Two: Thursday 5th November 2015
9.30 - 10.30 Sara Van Belle, Gabriel Pictet, Aku Kwamie, Liz Turner and Mel Punton - Realist evaluation in international development
10.30 - 11.30 Coffee
11.30 - 12.30 Annette Boaz, Jo Rycroft-Malone, and Mark Monaghan - Policy: Lessons From realist research
12.30 - 1.30 Lunch
1.30 - 3.00 Trish Greenhalgh (Chair) Mike Kelly, Jane Nixon, Rebecca Randell, Bruno Marchal, Nick Tilley, and Rebecca Walwyn - The Big Debate: RCTs and realist evaluation
3.00 - 3.30 Roundup and close with Ray Pawson


The main two day conference was held at The Leeds Club which is situated in the heart of Leeds City Centre a short walk from the train station. The pre-conference event for PhD students and Early Career Academics was held at the Carriageworks Theatre which is situated on Millennium Square. The conference dinner was held in Crafthouse, a fine dining British restaurant on the fifth floor of the Trinity Centre, Leeds.

Contact Details

If you have any questions relating to the conference please contact Emily Boldison (Please note that Emily’s hours of work are Monday & Wednesday 9.30-5pm and Thursday 9.30-1pm)

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