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ESRC Regional Training Centre Event - Evaluating Complex Social Interventions: Randomised Controlled Trials and Realistic Evaluation

Starts: 23 April 2008

Description: Many social interventions are necessarily complex, and the evaluation of such interventions can take a variety of approaches and address a multiplicity of distinct but inter-related research questions. Traditionally, there have been competing paradigms in evaluation research, with very different emphases over a range of dimensions including outcome vs. process; measurement vs. explanation; quantitative vs. qualitative; evidence vs. theory. The course will feature presentations from two pre-eminent exponents of these ‘competing’ approaches. Professor Bob Slavin will outline the need for randomised controlled trials and demonstrate with examples the feasibility and value of this research design. Professor Nick Tilley will discuss realistic evaluation, which he developed with Professor Ray Pawson as a response to the need for a greater focus on explanation and recognition of complexity in the evaluation of complex social interventions.

In questions and in two facilitated small group discussion sessions, participants will discuss the challenges to and limitations of randomised controlled trials and realistic evaluation. Professor Laurence Moore will discuss recent developments in research methodology which integrate these alternative perspectives through complementary use of mixed methods. A final panel discussion will assess the potential for creative synthesis of the traditionally antagonistic approaches.

Web Address:



Name:Jacqui Thorp, NCRM (National Centre for Research Methods)

Other information

Open To: Staff and Students

Disabled access: Yes