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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Evaluation Research Methods (PGSP11373)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPostgrad (School of Social and Political Studies) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionWhen considering a wide range of policies and interventions that are intended to create positive change in society, a key question for researchers, policy makers, practitioners and others is: 'Does it work?' However, establishing the way such policies and interventions 'work', and the impact that they have, can be complex. This course is intended to help people develop a critical understanding of both the theoretical and practical aspects of evaluation research. Students will learn about key concepts and approaches to evaluation, including experimental and qualitative approaches, realistic evaluation and cost-benefit analysis. The course also engages with the context of evaluation, including political influences, as well as ethical issues, practical issues, knowledge exchange and the dissemination of evaluation findings. By the end of the course, students should be able to critically assess the quality of existing examples of evaluation research as well as plan their own evaluation.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?No
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 1, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 16/09/2013
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course, students should be able to:
- Demonstrate a critical understanding of the theoretical basis, key concepts and different types of evaluation research;
- Have a critical awareness of key approaches and methods for evaluation research;
- Critically assess evaluation research in order to identity its strengths, weaknesses and relative merits;
- Understand the processes and issues related to undertaking evaluation research;
- Plan the evaluation of an intervention or service, taking into account relevant contextual and practical issues.
Assessment Information
Students must complete the set task and engage in the online discussion for each week of the course (1% each week, total of 10% of final mark) - this will be a requirement for those taking the course without credit in order to receive recognition for completing the course. Tasks and discussions are closely associated with the topics for each week and will include, for example, identifying a published piece of evaluation research and critically discussing it in light of the readings and teaching for that week.

Students will select a published evaluation report and write a critical essay in response to the report, describing the study and critically evaluating its strengths and weaknesses as a piece of evaluation.
(maximum 2,000 words, due at the end of week six, 45% of final mark)

Students will plan an evaluation of a particular intervention, service or policy (this could be an evaluation which they actually intend to undertake), outlining their approach, methods of data collection and analysis, ethics, potential resource constraints and knowledge exchange strategies.
(maximum 2,000 words, due at the end of week ten, 45% of final mark)
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Theory and key concepts for evaluation
Evaluation in context
Experimental methods in evaluation
Realistic evaluation
Qualitative evaluation methods
Cost-benefit analysis
Ethics and evaluation
Practicalities of evaluation
Dissemination and knowledge exchange
Consolidation of learning
Transferable skills Students will gain a range of skills relating to the critical assessment of evaluation research and the practical application of evaluation. These skills will be relevant to a range of work settings including the design, management, delivery and evaluation of various policies and interventions.
Reading list Bamberger, M. Rugh, J. & Mabry, L. (2012). Real world evaluation (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.
Pawson, R. & Tilley, N. (1997). Realistic evaluation. London: Sage.
Abma, T.A. and Widdershoven, G.A.M. (2011) 'Evaluation as relationally responsible practice', in Denzin, N.K. and Lincoln, Y.S. (eds) The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Cellini, S. R. & Kee, J. E. (2010). Cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analysis. J. S. Wholey, H. P. Hatry & K. E. Newcomer (Eds.), Handbook of Practical Program Evaluation (3rd Ed.) (pp. 493-530). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Gallagher, M., Wilkinson, H., and Smith, M (2012) 'A collaborative approach to research and impact: lessons from a knowledge exchange project involving academics and social work practitioners, Evidence and Policy, 8 (3), 311 - 328.
Nutley, S. M., Walter, I., & Davies, H. T. O. (2007). Using evidence: How research can inform public services. Bristol: The Policy Press
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Steve Kirkwood
Tel: (0131 6)50 6646
Course secretaryMr Andrew Macaulay
Tel: (0131 6)51 5067
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