Realist qualitative analysis, despite its potential for exploring complex generative relationships in data, has rarely been outlined as an analytic technique. Unlike the existing literature that borrows critical realist perspectives to conduct analysis that is essentially thematic, we offer a comprehensive approach to the analysis of qualitative data that employs realist concepts of context, mechanism, and outcome. In providing a detailed description of the realist analysis of a set of qualitative interviews with Indigenous patients with cancer in Canada, we demonstrate how to confirm, refute, or refine our theory of shared decision-making in complex medical situations. Employing the principles of realist data analysis, we construct an analytic framework that can be used to explore causative features of qualitative data. The dataset files are accompanied by a Teaching Guide and a Student Guide.
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