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Staff Profile

Rebecca Hardwick

Associate Research Fellow

Kath Maguire

I joined the University of Exeter in April 2012, coming from a background in health and social care service improvement and policy implementation.

I have always been interested in understanding how and why different service changes in health and social care services do or don't get implemented, and also why they are, and are not, effective.  This preoccupation with what makes things 'work' is one of the driving forces behind my academic interest.  The other driver is my continued interest in how knowledge become practice; more specifically, what are the kinds of knowledge that get used in a practice setting; and in the instances when this isn't 'research' evidence, why that might be.

This fascination with variation led me towards learning about other methods for research that take an overtly explanatory focus: ones which are interested in answering questions about variation in outcome, rather than giving a 'best buy' simple (istic) answer.  I have found some of my methodological questions answered through using realist methods, but I am always up for understanding and applying other approaches to developing our knowledge of not only 'what works', but who it works best for, in what circumstances, and why..... and can we help 'them' know what they need to know... ?

I started my PhD in 2013 to explore how third sector organisations use research knowledge in their work.  Despite many TSOs (that is, charities, social enterprises, and other 'not for private profit' organisations) providing healthcare services on behalf of the NHS, relatively little is known about how, in the UK at least, they use research, and how they blend or integrate it with other forms of knowledge (from tacit and experiential, to internally generated knowledge from evaluations or service user surveys).  Understanding how and why TSOs use or not research and other evidence is important if research is to be applicable and relevant to not just public sector organisations, but other kinds of organisations which make up the mixed economy of health care.

To investigate these issues I have published a scoping review of literature on knowledge use by TSOs, piloted a survey tool to assess TSO knowledge use and at the moment, I'm doing ethnographic fieldwork with a third sector organisation to learn first-hand how they create, construct, transfer and share and use knowledge of all kinds in what they do. 

To find out more, please visit the PhD project page.

Conference presentations:

University of Exeter Medical School, Annual Research Event, Torquay
Hardwick, R. Lang, I. Stein, K. Pearson, M.  How do third sector organisations use research and other knowledge in their work. March 2016  

Awarded first prize for Health Service Research PhD presentation. 
UK Knowledge Mobilisation Forum, Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh
Hardwick, R. Anderson, R. Stein, K. Pearson, M.  How do third sector organisations use research and other knowledge in their work. (poster presentation) April 2015

CARES 1st International Conference for the Advancement of Realist Evaluation and Synthesis, Liverpool, October 2014:
Hardwick, R.,  Anderson, R, Pearson, M., Byng, R.,. Vanquishing VICTORE?  Insights from a novel approach to mapping the complexity of shared care

Hardwick, R.. [Skill-building session]  What makes a 'good' supervisor or mentor for your realist review? And what to do if you don't think you've got one..! A PhD and Masters Student special workshop on influencing skills and upward management

Anderson, R. Charles, J, Hardwick, R., Marchal, B.  Realism and resources: reflections on using realist methodology to explore and explain costs and cost-effectiveness.

HSRN Symposium, Nottingham, June 2014:
Hardwick, R., Pearson, M., Byng, R., Anderson, R. The effectiveness and cost effectiveness of shared care for long term conditions: A realist review

Anderson, R., Hardwick, R., Pearson, M., Byng, R., The cost effectiveness of shared care for long term conditions: A realist review

Cochrane Collaboration Colloquium, Quebec, Canada, September 2013:
Hunt H.,  Hardwick R. An analysis of theory building in realist synthesis: perspectives from the literature.

Upcoming Events


LKD Seminar: Staging evidence: the...

Room 2.13, South Cloisters, St Luke's campus, Exeter

Learning, Knowing, Doing Series Seminar Speaker: Kate Beckett, University of the West of England, Bristol Kate’s background...
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Creating Communications Seminar - ‘Reaching...

Exeter South Cloisters 3.06, Plymouth JBB MR8, Truro KSpa F10.

Speakers: Kirsty Heber-Smith and Tara Lamont Locations:  Exeter South Cloisters 3.06, Plymouth JBB MR8, Truro KSpa F10. Tara Lamont is deputy director of the NIHR Dissemination Centre  which promotes...
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Plymouth researchers are recruiting local smokers to major national study looking at reducing cigarette consumption

05 March 2018

A £1.8m study funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is looking for...
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Investigating the association between chronic heavy drinking and dementia

22 February 2018

PenCLAHRC researcher, Dr Iain Lang, has commented on a new study published in The Lancet Public...
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Partner In Focus - South West Academic Health Science Network

17 January 2018

As a partnership of NHS Trusts across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, plus the Universities of...
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Research Projects

How can schools best support parents' engagement in their children's learning?

Theme: Evidence for Policy and Practice

This project aims to address how schools can best engage parents in their children’s learning....
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What are the effects of 'robopets' on the health and wellbeing of residents in care homes? A systematic review of qualitative and quantitative evidence

Theme: Mental Health & Dementia

A systematic review that aims to create a state-of-knowledge synthesis on the impact of robopet-human...
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Research Projects