Topaz Project: How to conduct a transdisciplinary realist review

A Digital Child Working Paper from our ‘How to’ series

This paper is part of a ‘how to…’ series aimed at supporting transdisciplinary reviews regarding technology use with, by and for young children.

A realist review is an evidence-synthesise method that seeks an explanatory focus instead of a judgemental focus. Realist reviews focus not only on what works but how and why it works, and within what context. These reviews attempt to incorporate theory to create conclusions are more likely to be relevant to policy and practice. They are particularly useful to review evidence on complex issues and therefore lend themselves well to transdisciplinary research. The aim of this paper is to provide a readily accessible resource of information on how to conduct transdisciplinary realist reviews. The realist review process is conceptualised to include several steps conducted with iteration possible within each stage and between stages. Conducting a realist review is typically not a linear process but rather has some flexibility. This ‘how to…’ guide builds on the prior frameworks and approaches and provides explanations of what to do at each step, along with a curated list of resources relevant to each step, in a manner sensitive to diverse disciplines. Transdisciplinary realist reviews can provide an important mechanism for not only aiding in transdisciplinary understanding of complex issues, but for creating evidence summaries that are relevant to end-user needs.

Volume/Number: 2022-05

Date published: 3 August 2022

Series type: How to


Suggested citation:Beynon, A., & Straker, L. 2022 2022 How to conduct a transdisciplinary realist review to support decision-making regarding children and digital technology. Digital Child Working Paper 2022-05, ARC Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child, Brisbane, Australia.

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