A Realist Evaluation of Social Care Practitioners' Experiences With and Understanding of Applied Healthcare Research

Gurkiran K Birdi, Geoffrey Wong, Rachel Upthegrove, Suzanne Higgs, Annabel Walsh, Amy Ahern, Katherine Allen, Jo Howe, Hafsah Habib, Karen Nixon, Sheri Oduola, Ian Maidment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Social care practitioners are often under-represented in research activity and output. Evidence-based practice enables social care practitioners to develop/engage the skills to evaluate evidence and be more actively involved in research. REalist Synthesis Of non-pharmacologicaL interVEntions for antipsychotic-induced weight gain (RESOLVE) is a NIHR-funded study where realist synthesis is used to understand and explain how, why, for whom, and in what contexts non-pharmacological interventions help service users, with severe mental illness, to manage antipsychotic-induced weight gain. Social care practitioners are a key part of the team providing care for people living with severe mental illness and therefore supporting antipsychotic-induced weight gain. The current study, RESOLVE 2, uses realist evaluation and RESOLVE as an illustrative example to help understand why and how social care practitioners engage (or not) with research. Semi-structured, audio-recorded interviews will be undertaken with a purposive sample of approximately 20 social care practitioners working with people who have severe mental illness, are treated with antipsychotics, and have experienced weight gain. Participants will be recruited from NHS Trusts and recruitment avenues such as social media and personal networks. Topics discussed during interviews will include barriers and facilitators to engagement in research, current, and past engagement as well as recommendations for researchers and other practitioners. Interview recordings will be transcribed verbatim and analyzed using realist evaluation which will allow in-depth causal explanations for research engagement. Better understanding of research engagement by social care practitioners will allow for evidence-based practice and better patient outcomes within these settings.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
JournalInquiry : a journal of medical care organization, provision and financing
Early online date24 May 2024
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Copyright © The Author(s) 2024. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).


  • social care
  • evidence-based practice
  • severe mental illness
  • realist evaluation


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