Developing Robust Approaches to Evaluating Social Programmes


Sampson, Alice 2007. Developing Robust Approaches to Evaluating Social Programmes. Evaluation. 13 (3), pp. 477-493.
AuthorsSampson, Alice

Using ‘evidence’ to falsify rather than verify patterns in data and searching for alternative explanations enables a better understanding of the circumstances that explain why and how a social programme works or does not work. An analysis of the extent to which a programme is meeting its aims and objectives to find out if it provides a solution to the policy problem, is more rigorous. The roles researchers adopt influence the quality of an evaluation; facilitating a better understanding of the theories embodied in programmes enhances an evaluation while being a ‘broker of compromise’ can limit access to information. Researchers have a valuable role in promoting learning. A robust evaluation framework integrates strategies for generalizing at the outset and identifying mechanisms of change or causal mechanism is a way forward. Examples are taken from recent evaluations conducted by the author and colleagues to illustrate the arguments.

Keywordsuse of evidence; evaluating solutions to social problems; role of researchers; theory driven evaluation; generalisability; interventions
Journal citation13 (3), pp. 477-493
Accepted author manuscript
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PrintOct 2007
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Deposited01 Jun 2009
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Sampson, A. (2007) 'Developing Robust Approaches to Evaluating Social Programmes', Evaluation, 13 (3) 477-493.

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