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Annotated CMOC Database

This database shows a list of CMO configurations found in the empirical literature. Importantly, in order to delineate the database we only include CMO-configurations that were made explicit by the authors of the papers or reports. The CMOC presented in this database may only give limited information compared to what is in the original article. Hence, it may be useful to look up the article and read it through. This might be an incentive for future publications to create comprehensive and explicit CMO configurations whenever deemed relevant for the research.

Every CMOC entry comprises the following elements:

  • Number: An autogenerated code for each CMOC in the database. It can be used to refer to a specific CMOC if you would like to give a comment.

  • Outcome: An attempt to summarize the outcome in one term. This is always imperfect and comments on this are welcomed. This makes the database more easily searchable.

  • Mechanism: An attempt to summarize the mechanism in one concept. Clearly, people may disagree and the mechanisms are sometimes ambiguous, however the idea is not to give a definite term but to use this as a guide through the database. Again, comments are always welcome.

  • Intervention: An attempt was made to summarize the intervention in one term. The same disclaimers apply.

  • CMOC: The CMO configuration as presented in the study.

  • Summary of comments: A panel of experts was asked to give their opinion on the quality of the CMOC within the framework of the realist evaluation approach put forward by Ray Pawson and Nick Tilley. These comments are summarized here. (note: this is a work in progress and many CMOCs still need to be commented). To be sure, experts may not always agree and arguments may always be debated, this is surely not a 'holy' document and one should always rely on their own insights as well.

  • DOI: In order to avoid a kind of 'naming and shaming' the reference to the article is not given, if you would like to get more information on the article you can follow the DOI.  

The idea of this database is to show which CMOCs have been observed in the empirical literature. In this way I hope realist reserchers (both experts and novices) can get a feel of what a CMOC is. That is also the reason why I have added the opinion of experts to the database so that we can get an informed view. Importantly, this is merely a guide.

! Some experts feel that explicitly breaking down a mechanism into ‘reasoning’ and ‘resources’ is confusing. However, no unanimity exists on this issue. Whenever this issue arises, we will indicate this as follows: 'MRR criticism'. Instead of constantly repeating the criticism we will shortly summarise the criticism here: "It is the context as a whole that 'triggers' a mechanism if we are following the form of realist causal explanation put forward by Pawson and Tilley (i.e. C+M=O). If both a context and a mechanism (resource) are present in the causal explanation (i.e. within a context-mechanism-outcome-configuration (CMOC)) which of the two is then ‘triggering’?"

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