Once you become real, you can’t be unreal again *

Back in October, Lisa Burrows gave a great talk at the Realist Hive about her PhD, and the process she’s been following to do her research.

Lisa’s PhD is looking at how Dementia Cafe’s work (or rather What is the effect of memory cafes as an intervention for people with dementia and their carers?). She talked about her personal motivations for looking at Dementia Cafe’s, her experience in running one and the need to develop an evidence base for dementia cafes. They are an increasingly popular community based response for people living with dementia and their families and supporters, but little is understood about how they work, for whom, in what circumstances and why.

Lisa talked passionately about why she chose a realist approach (she’s doing a review and an evaluation for her PhD), saying that it resonated strongly with her own experience that nothing works the same in all places, at all times, for everyone, and that it is important to not only understand whether or not something is effective, but also why it is. She took us through her realist review in some detail, explaining the way she went from mapping the territory of dementia cafes, to developing programme theories and “if then” propositions.

It was a useful practice based session where we listened and asked questions, and then had a crack at doing our own programme theory surfacing from a short vignette she shared.

The slides from the presentation will be added below in due course, plus the vignette at the end.

Thanks to Lisa for presenting so clearly on her work and to everyone that came along.

Example for programme theories

*This is a quote from very near the start of The Velveteen Rabbit, which Lisa shared with us at the end of her talk. You can read more here… Velveteen Rabbit


One thought on “Once you become real, you can’t be unreal again *

  1. Sounds like an excellent idea to follow, would be interested in following this up. I think pursuing something that you’re interested in and is usually close to home really motivates people to continue on the path.

Leave a Reply