In search for gold - The relevance of realist reviews and evaluations to pharmacy research and policy development

Karen Luetsch, Michael Twigg, Debra Rowett, Geoff Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Pharmacy services and programs can be regarded as complex interventions which are developed and implemented within the open, complex system of overall healthcare. Realist research considers matters of complexity and provides insights into what programs and interventions work, why and in which contexts. Based on the philosophy of science of critical realism, realist evaluations and realist reviews generate causative explanations which inform pharmacy practitioners, educators and policy makers in which context programs and services achieve particular outcomes. This more nuanced understanding of how pharmacy services contribute to overall healthcare provides guidance for the refinement and targeting of programs, interventions and practice models. This article outlines key aspects of realist research approaches and provides insight into how realism can contribute to research in and the practice of pharmacy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)836-839
Number of pages4
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Issue number6
Early online date3 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Critical realism
  • Pharmacy
  • Realist evaluation
  • Realist research
  • Realist review

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