Realist synthesis has positioned itself as a potentially valuable tool within health services research and evaluation. Opportunistically, it now inhabits the shadowy borderland between the messy domain of real world evaluation and the perceived rigorous scientific method of systematic review and evidence synthesis. Occupying this methodological demilitarised zone is not without its challenges; offering ongoing friction, perceptible tensions but not, at least to date, incandescent light! In this presentation Dr Booth will explore the extent to which realist synthesis can be seen as a bona fide member of the review family or, alternatively, as a rogue claimant syphoning off time, expertise and resources from the systematic reviews movement. He will explore his own experience on over half-a-dozen funded and unfunded realist syntheses against a backdrop of developments and current controversies within synthesis methods. Underpinning mechanisms will include conflict, rapprochement and, ultimately, reconciliation.