Involving Stakeholders in Programme Theory Specification

Discussion of a Systematic, Consensus-Based Approach

Published in: Evidence & Policy,  Volume 12, Number 4 (November 2016), Pages 541-557. doi: 10.1332/174426415X14474260456850

Posted on RAND.org on March 28, 2018

by Felix van Urk, Sean Grant, Chris Bonell

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The use of explicit programme theory to guide evaluation is widely recommended. However, practitioners and other partnering stakeholders often initiate programmes based on implicit theories, leaving researchers to explicate them before commencing evaluation. The current study aimed to apply a systematic method to undertake this process. We integrated a Delphi process into a larger effort to engage stakeholders in the elucidation of a logic model for the Studio School model of education. This study demonstrates that evaluators and service providers can jointly specify — and come to consensus regarding — intervention programme theories after these have been designed but prior to evaluation.

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