Realistic Evaluation shows how programme evaluation needs to be, and can be bettered. It presents a profound yet highly readable critique of current evaluation practice, and goes on to introduce a `manifesto' and `handbook' for a fresh approach.
The main body of this book is devoted to the articulation of a new evaluation paradigm, which promises greater validity and utility from the findings of evaluation studies. The authors call this new approach `realistic evaluation'. The name reflects the paradigm's foundation in scientific realist philosophy, its commitment to the idea that programmes deal with real problems rather than mere social constructions, and its primary intention, which is to inform realistic developm
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1 The classic experimental design The sheet anchor of the method is thus a
theory of causation . ... The point of the method , therefore , is to attempt to
exclude every conceivable rival causal agent from the experiment so that we are
left with ...
In short , the generative theory sees causation as acting internally as well as
externally . Cause ... In pursuing causal explanation via a constant conjunction
model , with its stress on that which can be observed and controlled , it has
tended to ...
An exact parallel can be drawn across to representation of the causal action of a
social intervention . Experimental evaluation is also X Y fixated and reduces the
business of explanation to drawing causal inferences between variables .