Over the years the discipline of evaluation has evolved and developed and is applied to many policies and practices. It forms the core of policy, accountability and strategic planning processes of many different types of organisations, and informs evidence-based decision making about public and grant funded programmes and initiatives. Much is expected of evaluation in the public, private and voluntary sectors and people responsible for commissioning, conducting and using evaluation are increasingly required to have a broad understanding of the evaluation types, skills and competencies. The course provides an introduction to this wide field and will be suitable for those new to evaluation and others who may have some experience but are looking to widen their knowledge of evaluation options and practice.
*For those with more experience or needing more specialist methods, SRA also offers courses in Impact Evaluation (Advanced), Theory-based Evaluation (Advanced) and Research and Evaluation Project Management (Introductory).
By the end of the workshop, participants will:
Understand the contribution of evaluation to decision making in publicly funded or grant-aided programmes and initiatives
- Be aware of the key ideas, different types of evaluation and their uses in meeting different needs
- Understand the robust goal and objective setting for setting firm foundations of evaluation
- Be able to understand how to make appropriate choices to meet those expectations and how to meet evidence needs through both quantitative and qualitative methods
- Be aware of how to address ethical consideration in evaluation design
- Understand how to make best use of evaluation findings.
The course will cover:
What is evaluation and why do we do it?
- An introduction to a range of types of evaluation
- How to manage objective settings for realistic expectations of evaluation
- The use of structured approaches to defining and meeting evaluation information and analysis needs
- Scoping and managing ethical considerations in evaluation
Communicating evaluation findings.
Who will benefit?
This course is run as a real-time online tutored course. It combines ‘tutor-led’ sessions, illustrations and case studies and practical (breakout group) exercises, and series of online supporting resources. It is aimed at those with at least a basic understanding of social research methods but who may be new to specifying, conducting or using evaluation. It will also be of value to those with some experience of evaluation but who have not been formally trained in methods and who are looking to widen their knowledge of this wide field.
By the end of the course, participants will achieve a broad understanding of the importance of evaluation and be able to make informed decisions about which types of evaluation are best applied to different types of programmes, projects and activities. They will gain practical experience of tasks relevant to scoping, designing and managing the evaluation process, as well as an understanding of some of the key challenges evaluators face in managing expectations and in ‘doing more for less’.
Professor David Parsons is a long-standing evaluation specialist, advisor and author of guidebooks on programme evaluation strategies). Visiting Professor at Leeds Beckett University, he has held past faculty posts at Sussex and Cranfield, and has a 20 year plus career advising government departments, agencies and others on systematic evaluation approaches. He has directed or co-directed over 40 independent evaluations of policy, publicly funded or grant-aided programmes in the last 10 years alone, variously for eight government departments, two of the devolved administrations (and their agencies), NDPBs and for the European Commission and others. He is author of Demystifying Evaluation (Policy Press, 2017) and various guidebooks on evaluation practice.
This course contributes 6 hours to the MRS CPD programme