Date and time: Wednesday 16 August 2017. 5.30 - 7.00 pm
Topic: When "what works" doesn't
Presenter: Patricia Rogers, ANZSOG
Venue: VicHealth Seminar Room, Ground Floor, 15‐31 Pelham Street, Carlton South
Register online by: Monday 14th August 2017

This is a free seminar organised by the VIC branch of the AES. Our monthly seminar series provides an opportunity for you to meet with AES members and others in Victoria and to share and learn from the experiences of fellow evaluators. Members are encouraged to bring along colleagues with an interest in the topic even if they are not yet members of the AES.

Seminar overview

 A common approach to evidence-based policy and practice is to try to find ‘what works’ and then recommend universal compliance with that approach, program, product or process. Yet the history of evaluation and research has identified many situations where this approach is not only ineffective but actually risks making things worse.
This session will provide a rapid tour of some of these situations - including meaningless means, goal displacement, inadequate sampling, exclusion of relevant evidence, dodgy data, and rapidly decaying generalisations - and outlines alternative approaches that aim to build more valid and useful evidence and processes to support better use of this evidence for policy and practice. The session will also engage in an exploration of what evaluators, evaluation managers and evaluation societies can and ought to do to encourage evidence users to go beyond ‘what works’. 

Presenter background

Patricia Rogers is Professor of Public Sector Evaluation at the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) and Director of BetterEvaluation, an international collaboration to improve monitoring and evaluation by creating and sharing knowledge about choosing and using methods and processes. She is an experienced evaluator who has worked on evaluations and evaluation systems for 30 years in programs and policies in a wide range of sectors, with national, state and local government departments and agencies in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, USA and UK, UN agencies, international philanthropic foundations, development banks and NGOs. Her book on program theory with Sue Funnell, Purposeful Program Theory: Effective Use of Theories of Change and Logic Models, provides detailed guidance on developing, representing and using theories of change and logic models. She is currently working on a new book When ‘What Works’ Doesn’t’ which challenges reductionist approaches to evidence-based policy and practice. 

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