Ascertaining causality in theory-based evaluation

This paper from E. Jane Davidson explores the relative strengths and weaknesses of program theory as a tool for inferring causality.


It also "outlines a five-stage approach that makes increased use of inductively built program theories and takes more deliberate account of the varying levels of certainty that are required for evaluative conclusions." (Davidson 20040


  • Introduction
  • Testing Causal Mechanisms with Thoery-Based Evaluation
  • Hunting for Causal Mechanisms
  • Options of Inferring Causality
  • Causal Traciing: A Five-Stage Process
  • Conclusions
  • References


Davidson, E. J. (2000). Ascertaining causality in theory-based evaluation. In P. J. Rogers, T. A. Hasci, A. Petrosino, & T. A. Huebner (Eds.), Program theory in evaluation challenges and opportunities: New directions for evaluation, 87 (pp. 17-26). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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