Theories of change and realistic evaluation: peas in a pod or apples and oranges?

Blamey, A. and Mackenzie, M. (2007) Theories of change and realistic evaluation: peas in a pod or apples and oranges? Evaluation, 13(4), pp. 439-455. (doi: 10.1177/1356389007082129)

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Abstract

Two proponents of theory-based approaches to evaluation that have found favour in the UK in recent years are Theories of Change and Realistic Evaluation. In this article we share our evolving views on the points of connection and digression between the approaches based on our reading of the theory-based evaluation literature and our practice experience. We provide a background to the two approaches that emphasizes the importance of programme context in understanding how complex programmes lead to changes in outcomes.We then explore some of the differences in how `theory' is conceptualized and used within the two approaches and consider how knowledge is generated and cumulated in subtly different ways depending on the approach that is taken. Finally, we offer our thoughts on what this means for evaluators on the ground seeking an appropriate framework for their practice

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:change,
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mackenzie, Professor Mhairi
Authors: Blamey, A., and Mackenzie, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Social Scientists working in Health and Wellbeing
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Journal Name:Evaluation
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:1356-3890
ISSN (Online):1461-7153

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