Theory-Based Stakeholder Evaluation

Morten Balle Hansen and Evert Vedung. American Journal of Evaluation
31(3) 295-313, 2010. Available as pdf

“This article introduces a new approach to program theory evaluation called theory-based stakeholder evaluation or the TSE model for short. Most theory-based approaches are program theory driven and some are stakeholder oriented as well. Practically, all of the latter fuse the program perceptions of the various stakeholder groups into one unitary program theory. The TSE model  keeps the program theories of the diverse stakeholder groups apart from each other and from the program theory embedded in the institutionalized intervention itself. This represents, the authors argue, an important clarification and extension of the standard theory-based evaluation. The TSE model is elaborated to enhance  theory-based evaluation of interventions characterized by conflicts and competing program theories. The authors argue that especially in evaluations of complex and complicated multilevel and multisite interventions, the presence of competing theories is likely and the TSE model may prove useful.”

‘Realist evaluation – understanding how programs work in their context’; An expert seminar with Dr. Gill Westhorp; Wageningen, the Netherlands; 29-03-2011

FormDate: 29-03-2011
Venue: Wageningen, the Netherlands

Dear colleague,

With pleasure we would like to announce an expert seminar with Dr. Gill Westhorp on 29th March 2011: ‘Realist evaluation – understanding how programs work in their context’.

‘Realist evaluation (Pawson and Tilley, 1997) is one type of theory based evaluation.  It aims to explore “what works, for whom, in what contexts, to what extent and how”.  It adopts a particular understanding of how programs work, and uses a particular format for program theories to help guide evaluation design, data collection and analysis.

Realist evaluation has a particular focus on understanding the interactions between programs and their contexts and the ways that these influence how programs work. Evaluation expert Dr. Gill Westhorp will discuss the concepts and assumptions that underpin this theory based evaluation approach. What is it that realist evaluation brings to the table of evaluating development programs? How is it different from existing approaches in evaluation in development? How does it understand, and deal with, complexity? What new insights can help strengthen the utility of evaluation for development?

During the morning, Gill will introduce the basic assumptions and key concepts in realist evaluation.  She will also briefly demonstrate how these ideas can be built into other evaluation models using two examples.  These models – realist action research and realist program logic – are participatory models which were designed for use in settings where limited resources, lack of capacity to collect outcomes data, complex programs, and (sometimes) small participant numbers make evaluation difficult.  In the afternoon, the practical implications for evaluation design, data collection and analysis will be discussed. Examples and practical exercises will be included throughout the day.

For those interested and not to far away around that time, please do come and join this interesting event!

Please find attached the Factsheet flyer and Registration Form form. We also suggest you make an early hotel booking (  as the hotel is already quite full. Please indicate to the hotel that you are booking a room for the ‘expert seminar realist evaluation’.

Note: the expert seminar with Dr. Michael Quinn Patton on ‘developmental evaluation’ unfortunately had to be cancelled due to personal reasons. We hope to organise another opportunity with him early next year.

Looking forward to meeting you here at the expert seminar on realist evaluation!

Cecile Kusters (CDI), Irene Guijt (Learning by Design), Jan Brouwers (Context, international cooperation) and Paula Bilinsky (CDI)

Kind regards / Hartelijke groeten,

Cecile Kusters
Participatory Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation – Managing for Impact
Multi-Stakeholder Processes and Social Learning
Centre for Development Innovation
Wageningen UR
P.O. Box 88, 6700 AB Wageningen, The Netherlands
Tel. +31 (0)317 481407 (direct), +31 (0)317 486800 (reception)
Fax +31 (0)317 486801
PPME resource portal:
MSP resource portal:

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