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Foundations of Evaluation

17th October 2019

Foundations of Evaluation

Organised by Social Research Association
Presenter Professor David Parsons
Date 17/10/2019
Venue Grand Connaught Rooms, Great Queen Street, London (tbc)
Map View in Google Maps  (WC2B 5DA)
Contact Lindsay Adams T: 0207 255 0695
E: [email protected]
Description Over the years the discipline of evaluation has evolved and developed and is applied to many policies and practices. It forms the core of policy, accountability and strategic planning processes of many different types of organisations, and informs decision making about public and grant funded programmes and initiatives.  Much is expected of evaluation in the public, private and voluntary sectors and people responsible for commissioning, conducting and using evaluation are increasingly required to have a broad understanding of the evaluation types, skills and competencies.  The course provides an introduction to this wide field and will be suitable for those new to evaluation and others who may have some experience but are looking to widen their knowledge of evaluation options and practice.

*For those with more experience or needing more specialist methods, SRA also offers courses in Programme Evaluation and Impact Evaluation.


By the end of the workshop, participants will:

  • Understand the role of evaluation to decision making in publicly funded or grant-aided programmes and initiatives
  • Be aware of the key ideas, different types of evaluation and their uses
  • Understand the importance of managing expectations and setting realistic objectives of evaluation
  • Be able to understand how to make appropriate choices to meet those expectations and to communicate evaluation findings
  • Be aware of how to address ethical consideration in evaluation design.


The course will cover:

  • What is evaluation and why do we do it? Why is it useful in times of austerity?
  • An introduction to a range of types of evaluation
  • How to manage for realistic expectations of evaluation
  • The use of structured approaches to defining and meeting evaluation information and analysis needs
  • Scoping and managing ethical considerations in evaluation
  • Communicating evaluation findings.

Who will benefit?

This one day course is aimed at those with at least a basic understanding of social research methods but who may be new to specifying, conducting or using evaluation.  It will also be of value to those with some experience of evaluation but who have not been formally trained in methods and who are looking to widen their knowledge of this wide field.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, participants will achieve a broad understanding of the importance of evaluation and be able to make informed decisions about which types of evaluation are best applied to different types of programmes, projects and activities. They will gain practical experience of tasks relevant to scoping, designing and managing the evaluation process, as well as an understanding of some of the key challenges evaluators in managing expectations and in ‘doing more for less’.

Course tutor

Professor David Parsons is a long-standing evaluation specialist, advisor and author of guidebooks on programme evaluation strategies). Visiting Professor at Leeds Beckett University, he has held past faculty posts at Sussex and Cranfield, and has a 20 year plus career advising government departments, agencies and others on systematic evaluation approaches.  He has directed or co-directed over 40 independent evaluations of policy, publicly funded or grant-aided programmes in the last 10 years alone, variously for eight government departments, two of the devolved administrations (and their agencies), NDPBs and for the European Commission and others. He is author of Demystifying Evaluation (Policy Press, 2017) a copy of which will be provided to all course participants.

Level Entry (no or almost no prior knowledge)
Cost £270.00 Members of SRA receive a 25% discount and pay £202.50
Website and registration
Region Greater London
Keywords Evaluation Research
Related publications and presentations Evaluation Research


17th October 2019
NINE DTP - a collaborative partnership funded by the ESRC