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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 Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummarySocial policies and interventions are increasingly expected to be evaluated in order to demonstrate their usefulness. Despite the growth in evaluation research, academics and others who conduct evaluations often do not have any specific evaluation training. This course will provide such a training, equipping students with a grounding in evaluation methods to enable them to carry out small scale pieces of evaluation research.
Course description When 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 students 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.

Outline Content

In the workshops students will be introduced to key concepts and types of evaluation research; logic modelling; qualitative and quantitative approaches to evaluation; ethics and dissemination, knowledge exchange and impact in relation to evaluation. Each of these areas will be supported by face-to-face teaching from a range of academic staff and contributors from the field. Workshop sessions will be augmented by online material and recommended reading on the same themes.

The course is delivered through blended learning. This means that students will engage in a combination of online learning and face-to-face sessions during the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the theoretical basis, key concepts and different types of evaluation research
  2. Have a critical awareness of key approaches and methods for evaluation research
  3. Critically assess evaluation research in order to identity its strengths, weaknesses and relative merits
  4. Understand the processes and issues related to undertaking evaluation research
  5. Plan the evaluation of an intervention or service, taking into account relevant contextual and practical issues
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
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and 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.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr George Palattiyil
Tel: (0131 6)50 3907
Course secretaryMr John Riddell
Tel: (0131 6)50 9975
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