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Practical approaches for researchers and users
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Social research practitioners and others working in the public and voluntary sectors, in academia and consultancy are increasingly under pressure to provide policy-related evidence with limited resources and rising expectations. Demystifying evaluation is an accessible introductory guide setting the foundations for tackling those challenges, explaining the options open to evaluators, their merits and uses, and how to make appropriate choices of research methods.

Drawing on his experience of policy and programme evaluations for the public sector and outside, David Parsons provides a practical roadmap cutting across different evaluation theories. He covers issues such as managing expectations of evaluation, using and mixing quantitative and qualitative methods, engaging stakeholders and providing action-orientated approaches to help end-users.

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157 8 EMERGING CHALLENGES FOR EVALUATION AND EVALUATORS • Moving beyond ad hoc evaluation by integrating development and policy design • Balancing rising user expectations with diminishing resources • Shortening decision-making timeframes and possibilities for real-time analysis • Building confidence and credibility through proactive engagement in evaluation • Tackling relativism and proportionality imaginatively and constructively • Next steps for evaluators, professional networking and guidance Introduction The previous chapters show how evaluators now

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Participation and policy implementation

Evaluation has become a central tool in the development of contemporary social policy. Its widespread popularity is based on the need to provide evidence of the effectiveness of policies and programmes. This book sees evaluation as an inherently political activity, as much about forms of governance as scientific practice. Using a wide range of examples from neighbourhood renewal, health and social care and other aspects of social policy, it relates practical issues in evaluation design to their political contexts.

With contributions from leading academics and evaluation practitioners, the book considers key issues in the politics of evaluation including: governance and evaluation; participatory evaluation; partnerships and evaluation; and learning from evaluation.

The politics of evaluation is important reading for academics, social researchers, policy makers, service providers and professionals across the public services as well as professional evaluators. It will be a valuable resource for students on a range of social science and professional courses and those concerned with recent developments in social research methodology.

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6362 DEMYSTIFYING EVALUATION 4 CONDUCTING PROCESS EVALUATION • Understanding the different types of process evaluation and where to use them • Distinguishing between process evaluation, self-evaluation and action research • The focus of process evaluation – assessing achievements, effectiveness and quality • Understanding the main options and choices for process evaluation methodologies • Identifying and avoiding common pitfalls in conducting process evaluation. Introduction After the groundwork laid down by compilation and composition, evaluators come to

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8382 DEMYSTIFYING EVALUATION 5 CONDUCTING ECONOMIC EVALUATION • Placing economics into evaluation practice via the four types of economic evaluation • Simple economic evaluations looking at cost description and cost minimisation • Cost-effectiveness and cost avoidance approaches in evaluation • Cost-utility evaluations • Cost-benefit evaluations • Using sensitivity analysis to strengthen economic evaluation • Avoiding common pitfalls in economic evaluation Introduction A well-designed process (or impact) evaluation can show accountabilities and how well a

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103 6 CONDUCTING IMPACT EVALUATION • Outcomes, intermediate impacts and impacts – getting to grips with the jargon • Understanding ‘gross’ and ‘net’ impacts, attribution and the counterfactual • Use of randomised controlled trials, scope and limitations of fully experimental impact evaluation methods • Partial or quasi-experimental methods as a practical impact measurement alternative • Using non-experimental evaluation approaches to estimate impacts • The use of qualitative approaches to assessing impact and contributions • Avoiding pitfalls in impact

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A Survival Guide
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Research doesn’t exist in a bubble but co-exists with a multitude of other tasks and commitments, yet there is more need for people to save time than ever before.

Brilliantly attuned to the demands placed on researchers, this book considers how students, academics and professionals alike can save time and stress without compromising the quality of their research or its outcomes. This third edition:

- is fully revised with new chapters on research and evaluation ethics, creative methods of collecting data and how research can make a positive difference;

-includes illustrative case studies throughout the book and each chapter concludes with exercises, discussion questions and a debate topic;

- is accompanied by a fully updated companion website.

This supportive book is designed for any student or practitioner who wants to know how to do research on top of their main job and still have a life.

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Part Three Partnerships and evaluation

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Part Two Participation and evaluation

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Part One Governance and evaluation

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