Blue Flower


Realist Evaluation

Realist evaluation is an approach all projects or programmes should be aware of.

The standard approach of many funders and policymakers is on asking the non-realistic question "What works?", meaning "What works with all people in all circumstances?"). 

The only accurate answer to that question is...

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Most Significant Change

The vast majority of projects decide in advance exactly what they're going to achieve, and list these achievements under headings like "outcomes" and "indicators".

This is good thing to do in itself - it's always good to have a plan - and is often a requirement of funding.

But too great a focus on outcomes and indicators can risk missing...

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Process Tracing

Process tracing is a technique for thinking about whether a change has happened because of an intervention, and perhaps even could only have happened because of that intervention.

It is most famous for a) its four levels of tests used to trace the process by which a project has caused change and b) being a bit like the techniques famous literary detectives use, particularly Sherlock Holmes in 'The Adventure of Silver Blaze'.

The four levels of test are as follows...

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Laws Of Evaluation

Probably the most cautionary thing to read for any evaluator before beginning their evaluation is Peter Rossi's classic 1987 work on the subject.

Rossi is most famous for his 'metallic laws', a set of rules of thumb relating to evaluation. There's an iron one, a stainless steel one, a brass one and a zinc one. None of them really laws any more than Murphy's Law, Godwin's Law or Michel's Iron Law of Oligarchy, but they are no less useful because of that.

Slightly tongue-in-cheek though all the laws may be, the steel one especially is a necessary caution...

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The Information Library will be added to regularly on an ongoing basis. If you feel there is a resource which would be a good addition to the library, just get in touch and we will be happy to review the resource in question!