Supporting evidence-based service delivery and organisation: a comparison of an emergent realistic appraisal technique with a standard qualitative critical appraisal tool


Philip Satherley, Wales Centre for Evidence Based Care, Nursing, Health & Social Care Research Centre, SONMS, Cardiff University, 4th Floor Eastgate House, 35-43 Newport Road, Cardiff, UK CF24 0AB. Email:


A major component of current policies aimed at promoting the delivery of an effective health service is to ensure that practitioners base their practice on research findings. Considerable attention has been focussed on the research community and developing appropriate methods and tools to support these objectives at the national and international level. The appraisal needs of individual practitioners, who might wish to inform local service delivery and organisation and who are often not methodological experts, has been hitherto ignored.

This paper reports on the application and testing of a technique for the appraisal of evaluation studies, which is being developed for use by practitioners to inform local service delivery. This technique has previously been applied to a quantitative evaluation. In this paper we report on its application to the appraisal of a qualitative paper. Our aim is to compare it with a standard tool to establish which generates more meaningful information for use by practitioners for the purposes of informing service delivery and organisation. The emergent technique successfully extracted relevant methodological and contextual information, with developmental issues being identified.