Tel: 07939121356
Email: damien.r.analyst@gmail.com

“The question isn’t ‘does it work?’. The question is ‘what works for whom in what circumstances?’

— Ray Pawson

Does your business, organisation or charity run a programme with a requirement for evaluation? I provide an independent evaluation service that moves beyond the simplistic question of whether a programme ‘works’. As a realist evaluator, I will address your project’s complexity, investigating what works, for whom it works, in what contexts it works, and how it works.

A realist evaluation plan will be unique to each project, but below I have provided a brief outline of the high level structure that defines the realist approach in general.

  1. An initial programme theory is defined
  2. The programme theory is further explicated by defining the programme’s context-mechanism-outcome (CMO) configuration, which helps to define hypothesied causal mechanisms of a programme and provide the basis on which the theory can be tested.
  3. Data is collected from stakeholders1.
  4. Analysis and testing of inital programme theory.
  5. Evaluation and potential modification of the initial programme theory.

Data capture for a realist evaluation is not restricted to a particular methodology, although often a mixed methods approach is taken as this provides the palette of research tools needed for assessing complex programmes. An evaluator will normally need to negotiate across multiple institutional logics, and in order to do this, will strategically employ mixed methods in ways that appropriately reflect the understandings of the various stakeholders. A synthesis of qualitative and quantitative data allows for data triangulation, which can strengthen the credibility and validity of the findings.

Why evaluate?

It may be that an evaluation is part of your project’s mandate, or constitutes a requirement for future funding. However, even if an evaluation is not a requirement, the benefits for any business or organisation can be enormous. An independent evaluator’s report can help managers understand how their programme theory or business model is actually being implemented, and provide a complex understanding of when, where and how it is working. An evaluation is also an effective opportunity for enhancing understanding across an organisation, as multiple stakeholder perspectives are considered, which leads to useful insights into the relationships between all aspects of the organisation and the actors within that organisation. Finally, an evaluation report is a tool by which the a programme theory or business model can be refined and improved where needed, and affirmed in its areas of success.

If you would like to discuss your evaluation requirements with me, please get in touch to organise an initial consultation.

Tel: 07939121356
Email: damien.r.analyst@gmail.com