Realist Research and Evaluation Online Program 2021

Realist Research and Evaluation Program


RREALI – Realist Research Evaluation and Learning Initiative | Northern Institute | Charles Darwin University

The program
This program will introduce participants to the philosophical assumptions of a realist philosophy of science and their implications for understanding how policies and programs work. Participants will develop skills in designing and implementing realist research and evaluation, from developing initial questions through to final reporting. The program also covers realist review, the realist approach to systematic literature reviews and rapid realist review. Accreditation at Masters level is available. An additional fee for marking of papers may apply for students outside the Master of Public Policy program. 

The delivery
The program will be delivered online over six weeks from 1 March through to 11 April 2021. Each week will consist of two pre-recorded lectures with supporting reading materials followed by an online participatory workshop. The workshops will be held every Thursday from 1pm to 4pm AEDT (Australian Eastern Daylight Time). Participants seeking accreditation and CDU-enrolled students will be asked to complete two assessment tasks.

Who should attend?
This program is available to researchers and evaluators in organisations and  government departments; to commissioners of research and evaluation; Master of Public Policy and other post-graduate University students; and staff who want to develop new research and evaluation skills. 

Workshop facilitators

Gill Westhorp

Professor Gill Westhorp, Professorial Research Fellow, Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University.

Gill leads the Realist Research Evaluation and Learning Initiative (RREALI) at Northern Institute (CDU). She leads realist research and evaluation projects, provides professional development in evaluation and realist methods around the world, participates in research projects as a realist methodologist and mentors other researchers and evaluators in developing and undertaking realist designs. She was a member of the core teams who developed the quality and publication standards for realist synthesis (a method for synthesising existing research and evidence from a realist perspective) and for realist evaluation. Link to online BIO

Kim Gray Kim Grey, Principal Research Fellow, Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University

Kim has almost 30 years’ experience as an internal evaluation manager and advisor for the Australian Government, designing complex evaluations including impact, participatory and realist approaches. These have covered Indigenous and mainstream cross-government and community sector programs, and topics such as safety, justice, health, wellbeing, environment, employment and education. Kim is currently engaged in realist evaluation and reviews with RREALI. Kim holds a Masters of Evaluation by research from the University of Melbourne, a post-graduate degree in social research methods and a Bachelor of Science. Kim’s thesis examined the use of formal theory in evaluation. She has a strong interest in theory-based evaluation, particularly realist evaluation methodology and has co-facilitated training in realist evaluation in Canada and the US. Link to online BIO

Cost (GST inclusive):

Are you enrolled in a postgraduate degree involving coursework? Are you doing this module as part of your coursework? If so, CDU or cross institutional enrolments will apply and enrolment fees will be invoiced or deferred to HECS-HELP. If not, see the table below for fees.

In either case, please register below to receive pre-program information.


Standard Registration

AES Members

HDR Students & RREALI Partners*

Registration Fee




Registration PLUS Accreditation




* RREALI Partners. These are organisations or individuals who have partnership agreements with RREALI, and/or who collaborate with RREALI on specific projects.



Registration closes Monday Night, 22 February 2021
If the course minimum number of participants is not reached, you will be notified that the course will not proceed and your fees will be refunded.


For more information about this program, or to be put on the waiting list for future programs, please email or call Dr Ruth Nicholls 0404 677 472 or