Capacity Building in Impact Evaluation: Counterfactual and Theory-Based Approaches

Project number: 2060601

Barcelona (ES)

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Date & pricing

18/05/2020 - 19/05/2020
Register before: 23/03/2020

€ 1.000,00 per attendee

€ 900,00 for EIPA members*

Capacity Building in Impact Evaluation: Counterfactual and Theory-Based Approaches

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From:  900,00

Does your organisation have qualified experts who are willing and able to properly manage evaluation activities? How can you ensure high-quality evaluations? Will evaluation results really provide the evidence required for decision-making, and help to improve policies and programmes?

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About this course

Does your organisation have qualified experts who are willing and able to properly manage evaluation activities? How can you ensure high-quality evaluations? Will evaluation results really provide the evidence required for decision-making, and help to improve policies and programmes?

This course will answer all the above questions, and specifically, will enhance your ability to design, manage and monitor the evaluations conducted by your organisation, irrespective of whether they are supported by EU funds.

Who is this course for:

  • Public officials from EU Member States, candidate countries, EU institutions and Agencies Managing authorities
  • Auditors, consultants, staff of NGOs, and other stakeholders involved in the management of evaluation procedures for policies, programmes, and projects
  • Professionals working with European Funds

Course methodology

The course will be led by experts who have decades of both research and practical experience in evaluation in an EU context.

There is no previous knowledge/experience required to attend this seminar, but if you do have some prior understanding, it could definitely help you get the maximum benefits out of this course.

After-course support

You will get the slides as well as additional learning material to apply the new knowledge in your work.

What you will learn in this course

  1. The two most prominent approaches to the current evaluation system: Counterfactual (also known as experimental or quasi-experimental) and theory-based
  2. What counterfactual approaches can and cannot do and the conditions in which they can be used
  3. How theory-based approaches can provide a good alternative when such conditions are not met and discuss ways in which the two approaches can be combined

By the end of the course, you will be able to

  1. Evaluate the pros and cons of different evaluation tools, and select the ones that are most relevant
  2. Commission and manage evaluations and ensure better dissemination of the results
  3. Design briefs for both internal and external evaluators, interact with them smoothly, and do an efficient assessment of their work quality
  4. Integrate evaluation better into the policy and programming cycle so that it is actually used
Theo Jans

Theo Jans

EU Governance

Practical information

Course venue
Grupotel Gran Vía  ****
Gran Vía Corts Catalanes, 678
08010 Barcelona
Tel: +34-931924560

Programme Organiser
Ms Nicolette Brouwers
Tel: + 31 43 3296245

The fee includes documentation, two lunches, one dinner and coffee breaks. After the event, a certificate of participation will be handed out and participants will be given access to the digital version of the event documents. Accommodation and travel costs are at the expense of the participants or their administration.

EIPA offers a discount to all civil servants working for one of EIPA’s supporting countries, and civil servants working for an EU institution, body or agency.

Who are the supporting countries?
Civil servants coming from the following EIPA supporting countries are entitled to get the reduced fee: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden.

For all other participants, the regular fee applies.

Lunch(es) will be served at the hotel restaurant and dinner will be held at a restaurant in town. Special dietary requirements (e.g. vegetarian, diabetic) can be indicated once you receive the confirmation of the seminar.

Confirmation of registration will be forwarded to participants on receipt of the completed online registration form.

Prior payment is a condition for participation.

Cancellation policy
For administrative reasons you will be charged €150 for cancellations received within 15 days before the activity begins. There is no charge for qualified substitute participants. EIPA reserves the right to cancel the activity up to 2 weeks before the starting date. In that case, registration fees received will be fully reimbursed. EIPA accepts no responsibility for any costs incurred (travel, accommodation, etc.).

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The programme

09.00 Registration of participants
09.15 Introduction to the seminar: presentation of the methodology to be followed
‘Tour de table’ – participants and experts present themselves. Needs assessment of the audience – evaluation on knowledge level
Dr Theo Jans, Associate Professor, EIPA Maastricht
I. What is an evaluation and how to manage it
Dr Theo Jans
09.30 Strengthening the impact evaluation culture in the European Union – the lessons from the European Commission
The European Commission has institutionalized the evaluation culture, mainstreaming the different aspects of it – learn from the Commission experience the do’s and don’ts for your own organization
10.30 Coffee Break
II. Introduction to theory-based evaluation approaches and how to use them in practice
11.00 Different evaluation approaches and their practical use
All evaluations should be systematic, objective and evidence-based. But in other respects they differ depending on the issues and problems at hand. This session gives an overview of different evaluation approaches, their key features and how and why to use them. The discussion revolves around real-life examples to show the strengths and weaknesses of various evaluation approaches and ways to design and apply them in practice.
13.00 Lunch Break
14.30 Theory-based evaluation: What is it, how does it work, and how can it be used to evaluate impact?
Theory-based evaluation (TBE) is versatile but is only useful insomuch as it is tailored to the intervention in question. This session runs through the different approaches to TBE (e.g. realist evaluation, contribution analysis, qualitative comparative analysis), the circumstances they are suited to and tools used to employ them. Again, the focus is on practical examples that participants can apply as commissioners or practitioners of evaluations.
15.30 Practical Session 1: a practical example of a theory-based evaluation
17.00 End of the first day
20.00 Welcome dinner
III. Introduction to counterfactual evaluation approaches and how to use them in practice
09.30 Counterfactual approaches to causation
Early on in the process of designing an evaluation you will need to consider how a counterfactual will be identified and estimated. This session will show you that once having identified a potential counterfactual you will then need to consider how you will measure counterfactual outcomes and possible collect control data from them. This will set ground for the next session of the programme.
10.30 Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) as a way of identifying counterfactuals
A randomised controlled trial is an evaluation methodology which aims to draw an objective picture of the difference that a project, programme or policy makes by comparing its effect on separate groups. There is a real need to gain a clearer understanding of who requests and uses RCTs, and this session will provide that knowledge.
11.30 Coffee Break
12.00 Practical Session 2: designing an experiment
Participants design an experiment and solve problems from a Commissioner´s perspective.
13.00 Lunch
14.30 Quasi-experimental approaches
Overview of quasi-experimental methods and techniques to quantitatively evaluate the impact of an intervention. Using ample examples, the approaches covered include regression, difference-in-differences and matching. ITS and regression discontinuity will also be discussed.
15.30 Practical Session 3: using quasi-experimental approaches
Participants discuss the practical application of quasi-experimental approaches, also in cases where randomisation is not possible.
16.00 Wrapping up and closing of the seminar