A Realist Synthesis is the synthesis of a wide range of evidence that seeks to identify underlying causal mechanisms and explore how they work under what conditions, answering the question "What works for whom under what circumstances?" rather than "What works?"
Realist Synthesis: An Introduction: This paper presents an introductory overview of realist synthesis as applied to the review of primary research on healthcare systems.
Evidence-Based Policy - A Realist Perspective: This book by Ray Pawson provides detailed guidance on realist synthesis including a range of examples from across a variety of policy areas.
Realist synthesis: illustrating the method for implementation research: This paper describes the process used for a realist review and synthesis in informing evidence based decisions and implementation methods in health care.
Quality standards for realist syntheses and meta-narrative reviews: This paper, written by Geoff Wong, Trish Greenhalgh, Gill Westhrop and Ray Pawson for The RAMESES project outlines a set of quality standards for conducting realist syntheses and/or meta-narrative reviews.
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