Here at NHS R&D, we externally evaluate all our programmes of work and sometimes help others evaluate their activities too. We feel this is an extremely valuable process both internally and for our external partners. It helps to measure success, plan for future programmes – enabling t informed decisions about what next, and helps create an understanding of what does and doesn’t work. We work with members of our faculty of associates to produce evaluation reports, all of which can be viewed below:
In INSERT YEAR we undertook a realist evaluation of our Leading a Culture of Research and Innovation Programme.
The programme was aimed at supporting middle managers to develop the leadership skills and confidence needed to nurture cultures of research and innovation (R&I) within healthcare.
If you are not familiar with realist evaluation, you can read more about it below:
Pawson and Tilley (1997) developed the first realist evaluation approach, although other interpretations have been developed since. Pawson and Tilley argued that in order to be useful for decision makers, evaluations need to identify ‘what works in which circumstances and for whom?’, rather than merely ‘does it work?
Realist evaluation is an emerging methodology that is suited to evaluating complex interventions. The realist philosophy seeks to answer the question ‘What works for whom, in what circumstances and why?’ In seeking to answer this question, realist evaluation sets out to identify three fundamental components of an intervention, namely context, mechanism and outcome. Educational programmes work (successful outcomes) when theory-driven interventions (mechanisms) are applied to groups under appropriate conditions (context). Realist research uses a mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative) approach to gathering data in order to test the proposed context-mechanism-outcome (CMO) configurations of the intervention under investigation.
We have been running our Leading Culture of Research and Innovation programme over the past few years across the Northern Region of the country. Each Cohort was externally evaluated and each of the reports can be found here: