Social research practitioners and others working in the public and voluntary sectors, in academia and consultancy are increasingly under pressure to provide policy-related evidence with limited resources and rising expectations. Demystifying evaluation is an accessible introductory guide setting the foundations for tackling those challenges, explaining the options open to evaluators, their merits and uses, and how to make appropriate choices of research methods.
Drawing on his experience of policy and programme evaluations for the public sector and outside, David Parsons provides a practical roadmap cutting across different evaluation theories. He covers issues such as managing expectations of evaluation, using and mixing quantitative and qualitative methods, engaging stakeholders and providing action-orientated approaches to help end-users.
"Adds to an astonishingly slim collection of works that seek to make evaluation widely accessible. Prof Parsons' contribution has enormous potential to assist in the relationships building needed between evaluators and the policy community to enhance evaluation and its use." J Bradley Cousins, University of Ottawa
"This book gets to the heart of the practical and methodological issues evaluators face. An excellent resource for social researchers and commissioners alike." Lindsey Bowes, Research Director, CFE Research
"Evaluating the effects of spending public money is crucial, but in many policy areas it is easier said than done. David Parsons draws on his considerable experience in this very accessible introductory guide which will be of interest to both evaluators and policy leads." Barbara Leach, Head of Evaluation, WRAP
“A concise and highly engaging text that provides a valuable overview of the growing and important area of evaluation. Those new to evaluation; researchers, commissioners and policymakers alike, will find this book an accessible and important resource” Stephen Morris, Manchester Metropolitan University
Prof David Parsons is a programme evaluator with over 30 years’ experience of independent public policy analysis in the UK, Europe and internationally. He is also a Visiting Professor at Leeds Beckett University, and Principal Consultant at P&A Research and Consulting. He has previously held faculty posts at the Universities of Sussex and Cranfield, was an advisor to the National Economic Development Office (UK), Economic and Social Research Council (UK) and European Commission and a specialist associate to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills. He also leads the Social Research Association’s programme in Advanced and Impact Evaluation, and has acted as advisor and trainer on evaluation methods to numerous publicly-funded bodies in the UK.
Compilation: setting the right foundations
Composition: designing for needs
Conducting process evaluation
Conducting economic evaluation
Conducting impact evaluation
Analysis, reporting and communications
Emerging challenges for evaluation and evaluators