Evaluating the Complex: Attribution, Contribution and Beyond (Comparative Policy Evaluation)

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9781412818469: Evaluating the Complex: Attribution, Contribution and Beyond (Comparative Policy Evaluation)
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In the economic atmosphere following the crisis of 2008, not only have governments reacted by creating more complex policy initiatives, but they have also promised that all of these initiatives will be evaluated. Due to the complexity of many of the initiatives, the ways of evaluating are becoming equally complex.

The book begins with a theoretical and conceptual explanation of the process and shows how this translates into the practice of evaluation. The chapters cover a wide variety of subjects, such as poverty, homelessness, smoking prevention, HIV/AIDS, and child labor. The use of case studies sheds light on the conceptual ideas at work in organizations addressing some of the world's largest and most varied problems.

The evaluation process seeks a balance between order and chaos. The interaction of four elements―simplicity, inventiveness, flexibility, and specificity―allows complex patterns to emerge. The case studies illustrate this framework and provide a number of examples of practical management of complexity, in light of contingency theories of the evaluation process itself. These theories in turn match the complexity of evaluated policies, strategies, and programs. The evaluation process is examined for its impact on policy outcomes and choices.

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About the Author:

Kim Forss holds a PhD from the Stockholm School of Economics. His research has concerned comparative studies of evaluation, the design of inquiring systems and organizational learning, utilization of results, as well as process use of evaluation.



Mita Marra is associate professor of public policy and public administration at the University of Salerno, Italy. Since 1998, she has consulted with the World Bank Institute and the Operations Evaluation Department of the World Bank, conducting evaluations on training and institutional development programs in developing countries. She is the current president of the Italian Evaluation Association.



Robert Schwartz is associate professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto and director of evaluation and monitoring, principal investigator, and research scientist at The Ontario Tobacco Research Unit. He is editor-in-chief of the Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation.

Review:

“[Evaluating the Complex] offers an international perspective on evaluating large-scale policy initiatives. The editors have assembled a fine collection of individual chapters from experienced evaluators.”

—Michael Quinn Patton, American Journal of Evaluation

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