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Building programme theory to develop more adaptable and scalable complex interventions: Realist formative process evaluation prior to full trial

Brand, SL; Quinn, C; Pearson, M; Lennox, C; Owens, C; Kirkpatrick, T; Callaghan, L; ... Byng, R; + view all (2019) Building programme theory to develop more adaptable and scalable complex interventions: Realist formative process evaluation prior to full trial. Evaluation 10.1177/1356389018802134. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Medical Research Council guidelines recognise the need to optimise complex interventions prior to full trial through greater understanding of underlying theory and formative process evaluation, yet there are few examples. A realist approach to formative process evaluation makes a unique contribution through a focus on theory formalisation and abstraction. The success of an intervention is dependent on the extent to which it gels or jars with existing provision and can be successfully transferred to new contexts. Interventions with underlying programme theory about how they work, for whom, and under which circumstances will be better able to adapt to work with (rather than against) different services, individuals, and settings. In this methodological article, we describe and illustrate how a realist approach to formative process evaluation develops contextualised intervention theory that can underpin more adaptable and scalable interventions. We discuss challenges and benefits of this approach.

Type: Article
Title: Building programme theory to develop more adaptable and scalable complex interventions: Realist formative process evaluation prior to full trial
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1356389018802134
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1356389018802134
Language: English
Additional information: This Open Access article is distributed under the Creative Commons CC BY-NC (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/)which permits non-commercial use of the work without further permission provided the work is fully attributed.
Keywords: complex intervention development, feasibility and piloting, formative process evaluation, programme theory development, realist evaluation
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10065213
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