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Title:Contextualizing Causal Theories for Process Evaluation: What Makes or Breaks the Program?
Author(s):Culbertson, Michael J.
Subject(s):program evaluation
program theory
causal reasoning
process evaluation
agricultural extension
Abstract:Program theories often lay out causal mechanisms for how their activities are thought to achieve proposed goals. Sometimes, though, program theories seem to assume that each step in the causal chain proceeds automatically to the next, ignoring contextual factors that may impede or facilitate individuals’ movement through the chain. Understanding a program’s successes and failures requires going beyond simple causal mechanisms to investigate which facilitating and inhibiting factors are most significant in the program’s action. Explicitly augmenting a program theory with potential facilitating and inhibiting factors can provide a framework for designing a detailed process evaluation to uncover how the program succeeds or fails. Based on the knowledge of which contextual factors are most important in controlling movement through the theory of action, program designs can be adjusted to capitalize on facilitating factors and mitigate inhibiting factors. In this workshop, we will practice identifying relevant facilitating and inhibiting contextual factors and think about how an augmented program theory can inform evaluation design. Illustrations will come from an ongoing evaluation of the Community Knowledge Worker (CKW) program, a community-based farmer education program in rural Uganda.
Issue Date:2013-06-28
Citation Info:Workshop presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Community Research and Action, June 27-29, 2013, Coral Gables, FL.
Genre:Conference Paper / Presentation
Publication Status:unpublished
Peer Reviewed:not peer reviewed
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-06-28

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