Contemporary thinking about causation in evaluation

This paper was produced following a discussion between Thomas Cook and Michael Scriven held at The Evaluation Center and Western Michigan University’s Interdisciplinary PhD in Evaluation program jointly hosted Evaluation Cafe´ event on contemporary thinking about causation and causal inference in evaluation.

Both speakers largely focus on the issues surrounding Randomised Control Trials (RCT'S) and their priority and contention in the field of development evaluation. There is also discussion and reflection on recent methodological developments and alternatives to RCTs for cause-probing investigations in educational and other settings.


  • Abstract
  • A Dialogue on Contemporary Thinking About Causation
  • Postscripts
  • Appendix A The Present Status of the Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT) as a Standard for Causal Investigations in Human Behavior
  • References


Cook, T. D., & Scriven, M., & Coryn, C. L. S., & Evergreen, S. D. H. (2010) Contemporary Thinking About Causation in Evaluation: A Dialogue With Tom Cook and Michael Scriven. American Journal of Evaluation 31(1) 105-117Retrieved from