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2017 International Realist Conference

The 2017 Realist Conference invites realist researchers, evaluators, theorists and methodologists of all descriptions, along with those who are commissioning realist work and those who are using it to inform practice and policy together to answer: In what circumstances and for whom have realist methods been useful, in what respects, and why? In what contexts have they not proved useful, and why?  How do the specific methods we use in our research or evaluation contribute (or not) to their use? What new developments or methods would further support their use?


24th October, 2017 to 26th October, 2017
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Submissions close - UPDATE:  The call for abstracts has been extended to close at 9am (AEST) on Wednesday, 20 June 2017 

Are you interested in presenting at the conference? Submissions are open for both oral and poster presentations. We anticipate submissions on realist topics from those working in the fields of health, crime and justice, international development, economic evaluation, environment and climate change, and many others. SUBMIT AN ABSTRACT

Submissions are also open for pre-conference workshops to be held onMonday, 23 October 2017. Pre-conference workshops must focus on developing competence in aspects of realist research, evaluation or synthesis. SUBMIT A WORKSHOP PROPOSAL


Registration is open

Secure your early bird registration and accommodation booking by registering now. 


Keynote speakers

Friday, 9 June

Prof Nick Tilley
Nick Tilley is a professor within UCL’s Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Griffith Criminology Institute, Brisbane and Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Nottingham Trent University. His long-term research interests concern policing, crime prevention, programme evaluation methodology, and the use of science to inform improvements in policy and practice. Recent projects relate to the international crime drop, 'what works' in crime reduction, and the prevention of youth related sexual abuse and violence. Prof Tilley is a prolific author, including co-authoring the seminal text Realistic Evaluation, with Ray Pawson.

Emeritus Prof Joseph Maxwell
Joseph Maxwell is an emeritus professor in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University. His doctoral degree is in anthropology, but for the past 35 years his research and teaching has been mainly in education, with an increasing focus on methodology. His current research deals with using qualitative methods for causal explanation, validity in qualitative and quantitative research, the history and breadth of mixed methods research, the value of philosophic realism for research, and the importance of diversity and dialogue across research paradigms and methods. Prof Maxwell is author of (amongst other things)A Realist Approach for Qualitative Research

Penny Hawkins 
Penny Hawkins is an evaluation specialist with extensive experience in international development evaluation and public policy across a wide range of sectors and organizations. Penny is the former Head of Evaluation, UK Department for International Development (DFID). Penny now works as an independent evaluation consultant, based in Scotland and New Zealand, working with philanthropic, multi-lateral and private sector organizations to develop their Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning systems.

Emeritus Prof Raymond Pawson 
Ray Pawson is Emeritus Professor of Social Research Methodology at the University of Leeds, UK. Persistently, doggedly, truculently he has pursued a career promoting the cause of realist research. Every 8 years or so this results in a book – namely A Measure for Measures (1989), Realistic Evaluation (1997 with Nick Tilley), Evidence-Based Policy: A Realist Perspective (2006) and The Science of Evaluation: A Realist Manifesto (2013). Expect the next monograph – Evidence-based Medicine and Evidence-based Policy: A Realist Tryst in 2020.