Philosophy & quality? TAPUPASM as an approach to rigour in critical realist research

Ryan, Gemma and Rutty, Jane (2019). Philosophy & quality? TAPUPASM as an approach to rigour in critical realist research. Nurse Researcher, 27(1) pp. 33–40.



This article discusses an approach to ensuring scientific rigour in post-positivist critical realist research using an enhanced model of TAPUPAS: transferability, accessibility, propriety, utility, purposivity, accuracy and specificity, with the additional criterion, modified objectivity (TAPUPASM).

Philosophical principles should guide the manner in which research is designed, conducted and appraised. Therefore, the more traditional and commonly employed approaches to positivist (validity and generalisability) or interpretivist (trustworthiness) research do not necessarily complement the philosophical principles of post-positivist critical realism.

This is a methodological discussion paper illustrating the strategies for rigorous research using TAPUPASM in a critical realist ethnographic study in nurse education.

This paper presents examples of strategies to ensure TAPUPASM in the planning, design, conduct and dissemination of a realist research study. These include choices about data collection and analysis and also, the role of a dissemination strategy outside of traditional academic methods.

This article proposes an enhanced version of the quality criteria framework TAPUPAS(M) for the design of critical realist research. It provides a practical example of how TAPUPASM was used to ensure rigour in a critical realist ethnographic study in pre-registration nurse education.

For nurse researchers, this article provides a framework for quality in post-positivist critical realist research. It provides examples of the strategies that can be employed for nurse researchers planning, designing, conducting and disseminating critical realist research.

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