Practice innovation: a methodological maze
Practice innovation is an inevitable feature of a health culture preoccupied with evidence-based practice. The cyclical process of defining best practice, implementing and evaluating change represents an unparalleled opportunity for nurse researchers to engage in, and develop, practice through ‘realistic evaluation’. However, the methodological dilemmas and challenges inherent in evaluation research which informs policy should not be under-estimated. This paper seeks to introduce and wrestle with some of the political tensions and methodological issues surrounding practice innovation when it is undertaken within an evaluative research framework. A critical pathway is presented to stimulate discussion and guide novice evaluators through this often perplexing methodological maze. A case study in audiological rehabilitation in elder care is used to illustrate the issues raised.