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Professional development workshops

What if? Exploring the use of the counterfactual in program evaluation (03) [EN]

Rick Cummings, Murdoch University, Australia

May 11, 2008, 9:00am - 12:00pm - Intermediate - 25 seats

How do evaluators provide the best evidence of program outcomes to stakeholders? The current focus on impact evaluation and the adjoining debate over the suitability of various designs for rigorously measuring program outcomes begs the question of what are the most suitable alternative outcomes (counterfactuals) with which to compare the stated program outcomes. In essence this is asking what is the counterfactual, how should it be measured and what is an appropriate method of comparing the program outcomes and the counterfactual.

This workshop explores the underlying logic of the counterfactual, presents up-to-date information on the role it plays in critical analysis and different approaches to its measurement, and how it might be used in a range of different types of program evaluation. Participants will be involved in working with counterfactual analysis using data from a recent evaluation study. They will also have an opportunity to explore and discuss potential counterfactual analysis in evaluation studies in which they are involved. Finally, the potential benefits of measuring the counterfactual are explored, particularly in providing influential information to key stakeholders.


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