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Evaluating Change. Chapter 10. ‘Change means movement. Movement means friction. Only in the frictionless vacuum of a nonexistent abstract world can movement or change occur without abrasion.’ - Saul Alinsky . Evaluative Research .

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Evaluating Change

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Evaluating change l.jpg

Evaluating Change

Chapter 10


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‘Change means movement. Movement means friction. Only in the frictionless vacuum of a nonexistent abstract world can movement or change occur without abrasion.’

- Saul Alinsky

O'Leary, Z. (2005) RESEARCHING REAL-WORLD PROBLEMS: A Guide to Methods of Inquiry. London: Sage. Chapter 10.


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Evaluative Research

  • Evaluative research is undertaken to determine the value of some initiative such as a programme or policy

  • Findings of evaluative studies are considered crucial to rational and informed decision making

O'Leary, Z. (2005) RESEARCHING REAL-WORLD PROBLEMS: A Guide to Methods of Inquiry. London: Sage. Chapter 10.


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Evaluating Outcomes and Process

  • Evaluative studies can relate to

    • outcomes, ‘did it work?’

    • process, ‘how can the design and implementation of the initiative be improved?’

O'Leary, Z. (2005) RESEARCHING REAL-WORLD PROBLEMS: A Guide to Methods of Inquiry. London: Sage. Chapter 10.


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Methodological options

  • Rather be defined by any particular methodological approach, evaluative goals and perspectives sought determine appropriate methodology

O'Leary, Z. (2005) RESEARCHING REAL-WORLD PROBLEMS: A Guide to Methods of Inquiry. London: Sage. Chapter 10.


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Methodological Options - Process

  • Multiple and diverse process evaluation methods include

    • interviews

    • surveys

    • focus groups

    • observation

    • document review

  • They can also be important tools in outcome evaluations that seek provider and community perspectives

O'Leary, Z. (2005) RESEARCHING REAL-WORLD PROBLEMS: A Guide to Methods of Inquiry. London: Sage. Chapter 10.


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Methodological Options – Outcome

  • Methods that allow for direct comparison can be highly useful when evaluating outcomes. These often include

    • experiments

    • quasi-experiments

O'Leary, Z. (2005) RESEARCHING REAL-WORLD PROBLEMS: A Guide to Methods of Inquiry. London: Sage. Chapter 10.


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Politics of Evaluation

  • Evaluative research is political with both stakeholders and researchers having diverse goals and complex relationships

O'Leary, Z. (2005) RESEARCHING REAL-WORLD PROBLEMS: A Guide to Methods of Inquiry. London: Sage. Chapter 10.


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Negotiating Expectations

  • Navigating the politics of evaluation is easiest if client and researcher objectives/ expectation are made clear and are openly negotiated

O'Leary, Z. (2005) RESEARCHING REAL-WORLD PROBLEMS: A Guide to Methods of Inquiry. London: Sage. Chapter 10.


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Real-World Complexity

  • Evaluative research takes place in the real-world with all its associated complexity

  • Real-world challenges include

    • when the decision to evaluate comes after initial implementation

    • when objectives are not clearly articulated or are not readily measurable

    • when the intervention has not been going long enough to expect results

    • when effects of the initiative can be

      • difficult to measure

      • difficult to attribute to the initiative

O'Leary, Z. (2005) RESEARCHING REAL-WORLD PROBLEMS: A Guide to Methods of Inquiry. London: Sage. Chapter 10.


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