Skip to content

A programme of realist methodology work


Paul Crampton

Dr Paul Crampton

Senior Lecturer

Amelia Kehoe

Dr Amelia Kehoe

Lecturer in Medical Education

Professor Paul Tiffin

Professor of Health Services and Workforce Research, Honorary Consultant in the Psychiatry of Adolescence



Why this research is needed

Realist methodology is continually gaining popularity and growing interest within the world of Medical Education. It's strength lies within its explanatory power, illustrating the 'how' and 'why' questions that are often left unanswered when we are evaluating complex interventions.

We have successfully developed and delivered a number of realist projects that have had substantial impact and change (see below), delivered national and international workshops, and developed papers and book chapters on the methodology. Any interest in this methodology welcome.


Rees, C. E., Crampton, P. E., Nguyen, V. N., & Monrouxe, L. V. (2023). Introducing realist approaches in health professions education research. Foundations in Health Professions Education Research: Principles, Perspectives & Practices. West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell, 102-121.

Knight, L., Page, M., Crampton, P., Viney, R., Rich, A., & Griffin, A. (2023). A realist evaluation of a London general practitioner trainer course. Education for Primary Care, 1-8.

Kehoe, A. Rothwell, C. & Bluhm, R. (2021). The philosophy of science. In Brown, M.E., Veen, M., Finn, G.M. A Journey Towards Mutual Understanding: Applied Philosophy for Health Professions Education. Book-edited volume. [Springer Publishing House]

Kehoe, A., McLachlan, J., Metcalf, J., Forrest, S., Carter, M., & Illing, J. (2016). Supporting international medical graduates’ transition to their host-country: realist synthesis. Medical Education, 50: 1015–1032.

Illing, J., Corbett, S., Kehoe, A., Carter, M., Hesselgreaves, H. et al. (2018) How does the education and training of health and social care staff transfer to practice and benefit patients? A realist approach. Final Report for Department of Health, July 2018.

Ellaway, R., Kehoe, A., Illing J. (2020). Critical Realism and Realist Inquiry in Medical Education. Academic Medicine. 95(7):1.

Finn, G., Crampton P., Kehoe, A. et al. (2021). Exploring, understanding and evaluating experiences of Fitness to Practise at the General Dental Council. Second Interim Report.

Ajjawi, R., Crampton, P. E., & Rees, C. E. (2018). What really matters for successful research environments? A realist synthesis. Medical education, 52(9), 936-950.

Crampton, P., Mehdizadeh, L., Page, M., Knight, L., & Griffin, A. (2019). Realist evaluation of UK medical education quality assurance. BMJ open, 9(12).

Contact us

We welcome enquiries about policy and guidance, collaborations, our research, tutor training, or opportunities to visit or study with us in the Health Professions Education Unit.