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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Progress is not a matter of careful replication of controlled trials which will arrive
at empirical regularities . Such a process is more likely to end in error and
inconsistency . Scientific progress occurs when experiments incorporate and test
That is to say that the objective of realist inquiry is to explain social ' regularities ' ,
' rates ' , ' associations ' , ' outcomes ' ... We begin by relating explanans to
explanandum according to the formula already set down : regularity =
mechanism + ...
Context ( o Mechanism ( M ) Regularity ( R ) Figure 3 . ... Whilst the rates ,
regularities and patterns explained vary greatly in substance and complexity , it is
this model of a stratified reality being composed generatively which maintains the