Blending critical realist and emancipatory practice development methodologies: making critical realism work in nursing research

Authors


Randal Parlour, PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons.) Nursing, RGN, RMN, Assistant Director, Nursing/Midwifery Planning and Development Unit, Health Service Executive, Ballyshannon, Ireland. E-mail: <rparlour@btinternet.com>

Abstract

PARLOUR R and MCCORMACK B. Nursing Inquiry 2012; 19: 308–321
Blending critical realist and emancipatory practice development methodologies: making critical realism work in nursing research

This paper examines the efficacy of facilitation as a practice development intervention in changing practice within an Older Person setting and in implementing evidence into practice. It outlines the influences exerted by the critical realist paradigm in guiding emancipatory practice development activities and, in particular, how the former may be employed within an emancipatory practice development study to elucidate and increase understanding pertinent to causation and outcomes. The methodology is based upon an emancipatory practice development approach set within a realistic evaluation framework. This allows for systematic analysis of the social and contextual elements that influence the explication of outcomes associated with facilitation. The study is concentrated upon five practice development cycles, within which a sequence of iterative processes is integrated. The authors assert that combining critical realist and emancipatory processes offers a robust and practical method for translating evidence and implementing changes in practice, as the former affirms or falsifies the influence that emancipatory processes exert on attaining culture shift, and enabling transformation towards effective clinical practice. A new framework for practice development is proposed that establishes methodological coherency between emancipatory practice development and realistic evaluation. This augments the existing theoretical bases for both these approaches by contributing new theoretical and methodological understandings of causation.

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