Realistic evaluation bloodlines

This article, written by Ray Pawson and Nick Tilley analyses six different social science inquiries from around the globe that use a variety of methods and strategies in order to draw conclusions about realistic evaluations. They conclude by providing six key lessons that can be learned from their findings about realist evaluation.


"In this paper, we take the reader on a brief tour of six social scientific inquiries, old and new. They range from major pieces of work to quite minor ones. They employ contrasting research strategies and incorporate different value positions. They draw upon data and observations extracted from around the globe. Some of them cross-refer to each other and some do not. Not many of them can be thought of as “evaluations.” Despite all this, we feel they tell a realistic tale about how evaluation should be conducted and what it can achieve. The payoff from our whistle-stop trip comes at the end, where we spell out six evaluation lessons that can be discerned from what we find along the way"


Pawson, R., & Tilley, N. (2001). Realistic evaluation bloodlines. American Journal of Evaluation, 22(3), 317-324. Retrieved from html