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Date and time: Thursday 21st November 2019, 9am to 5pm (registration from 8.30am)
Topic: Providing Evidence to Improve Organisational Performance: Uses of Evaluative Thinking
Location: Oaks 2 room at Oaks on Collins, 480 Collins Street, Melbourne 3000
Facilitators: Dr John Owen & Dr Rick Cummings
Register online by: Thursday 14 November 2019
Fees (GST inclusive): Members $484, Non-members $665, Student member $260, Student non-member $350

Workshop Overview

Evaluation can be seen as a main contributor to evidence based practice.   Evaluative thinking (ET) is a mechanism by which this takes place within an organisation.  This workshop suggests strategies for embedding ET into the working knowledge and decision-making of government and non-government agencies. 

This workshop will be provided by two of Australia’s most experienced evaluators of public programs, Dr John Owen, Principal Fellow at The University of Melbourne and Dr Rick Cummings, Emeritus Professor, Murdoch University. 

Course Content

This practical hands-on workshop is based on a set of exercises designed to assist participants to address practical issues related to the use of ET.   These exercises will be based around a case study involving ET: (i) in identifying a problem or issue the organisation wants to address, (ii) in the use of strategies to assemble evidence about this issue, and (iii) for using this evidence to improve organisational performance. 

A list of readings and websites relevant to ET will be made available to the workshop participants, with a particular focus on the relationship of ET to evaluative capacity. 

Course Outcomes

Benefits to Participants

At the end of this course attendees will be able to:

  • understand the key elements of ET
  • see how ET can support decision-making about policy and program development and implementation
  • appreciate that ET can also be applied to other aspects of organizational elements such as structures and culture
  • understand that the ongoing use of ET can lead to the creation of a commitment to the use of evidence in organizational decision-making.

The presenters are mindful of the need for the knowledge acquired can be used post workshop.  To this end, presenters will provide opportunities to discuss how participants could apply these outcomes within the organisations they represent.

About the facilitators

John Owen is Principal Fellow at the Centre for Program Evaluation at Melbourne University.  He is interested in working with organizational leadership and management to apply evaluation findings to improve the delivery of policy and programs.   He is a regular contributor at international evaluation conferences.  His book: Program Evaluation: Forms and Approaches provides an integrated framework to evaluation theory and practice that is used widely in Australian and internationally.   He is a foundation Fellow of the Australian Evaluation Society.

Rick Cummings is an Emeritus Professor in the Sir Walter Murdoch Graduate School of Public Policy and International Affairs at Murdoch University. Rick has over 30 years experience leading program and policy evaluations, conducting workshops in evaluation theory and practice, and currently teaches public policy research and evaluation at the Sir Walter Murdoch Graduate School.  Rick is a past President of the Australian Evaluation Society and was made a Fellow of the Society in 2013.


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