Drawing on interviews with 19 UK evaluation commissioners and contractors, this paper investigates the role of evaluation commissioning in hindering the take-up of complexity-appropriate evaluation methods and explores ways of improving this.
Complexity evaluation framework: Recognising complexity & key considerations for complexity-appropriate evaluation in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
Defra (the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) commissioned CECAN (the Centre for Evaluation Complexity Across the Nexus) to deliver a Complexity Evaluation Framework (CEF). The primary purpose of this framework is to equip Defra commissioners of evaluation (which may include analysts and policy makers), with a checklist of core considerations to ensure that evaluations are robust and sufficiently consider the implications of complexity theory. The framework is intended to increase the use and usability of evaluation for both commissioned and internally-led evaluation across the department. The final output is intended to be an actionable complexity evaluation framework, accompanied by a supporting evidence report to be used as a resource in commissioning evaluation.
This visual overview was developed through a research process that identified, defined and illustrated 16 key features of complex systems. The research addresses the need for images that are widely understood across different fields and sectors for researchers, policy makers, and design practitioners and contributes to an evolving visual language of complexity.
How can programs and organizations ensure they are adhering to core principles—and assess whether doing so is yielding desired results? From evaluation pioneer Michael Quinn Patton, this book introduces the principles-focused evaluation (P-FE) approach and demonstrates its relevance and application in a range of settings.
This book offers practical guidance to policymakers, managers, and evaluation practitioners on how to design and implement complexity-responsive evaluations that can be undertaken in the real world of time, budget, data, and political constraints.