Learn How To Master Theory-Based Impact Evaluation

21/03/2018 - 22/03/2018
Location: Maastricht (NL)
Project number: 1823601

Learn How To Master Theory-Based Impact Evaluation

From:  900,00

Registration for this course is closed. Take a look at our latest course: Learn How To Master Theory-Based Impact Evaluation 2019

In this seminar you will learn about theory-based impact evaluation, drawing on the latest advances made in terms of methodologies for impact evaluation from impact evaluation expert Benedict Wauters.

We will show you how theory-based impact evaluation can match the rigour associated with counter-factual impact evaluation and when it might be a better approach to determining how  interventions can be more effective.

We will cover in particular Process Tracing, Congruence Analysis, Qualitative Comparative Analysis, Pawson and Tilley’s Realist Evaluation and Mayne’s Contribution Analysis.

How will it help you?

By the end of the seminar you will be able to more effectively design and commission theory-based impact evaluations.

To help you to do so we will:

  • Distribute pre-reading material so you can prepare yourself for the seminar and thus to maximise the benefit you will gain from it
  • Give you initial input explaining the methodologies
  • Use case studies to explain how these methodologies work
  • Give you exercises to better understand the practical application of the methodologies.

You will also have the chance to discuss with other participants and the project leaders approaches which you have used or are planning to use.

Who will most benefit?

This two-day seminar is for public officials from EU Member States, candidate countries, the EU institutions and other multilateral institutions, as well as auditors, consultants, staff of NGOs, and other stakeholders with experience of the process of impact evaluation of policies, programmes and projects.

Come and learn how and when Theory-Based Impact Evaluation will help you to make decisions about how interventions can be made to work better to meet your aims.


‘All meaningful impact evaluation is theory-based. Theories are not mere statements about what we hope interventions will achieve. Rather, they EXPLAIN how interventions would achieve a given outcome.’
Benedict Wauters

‘Effective impact evaluation is key to ensuring that in public sector budgets resources are allocated to what works to deliver services to citizens.’
Michael Burnett

08.45 Registration of participants
Day 1 How does an intervention work? Understanding theory, inferencing and causality in theory-based evaluation
09.00 Welcome and introduction to the course
Michael Burnett, Project Leader & Expert, European Public Management, EIPA, Maastricht (NL)
09.15 Theory in theory-based impact evaluation
Benedict Wauters, Director, Innovation and Impact Evaluation, ESF Department, Flemish Ministry for Labour and Social Economy, Brussels (BE)
A brief history of theory-based evaluation·         Chen and Rossi·         Carol Weiss·         Pawson and Tilley
09.30 Case study: Intervention theory for a policy to give every citizen a personal development process (PDP) – a first look at a Theory of Change and a Theory of Action
10.00 Common theories as used in the social sciences
10.30 Coffee break
11.00 Exercise: What social science theories are underpinning the PDP case study?
11.30 Quantitative, conceptual and mechanistic theories for use in evaluations
13.00 Lunch break
14.15 Exercise: Construct a mechanism for the PDP case (or for your own case)
15.15 Coffee break

Causal inference

·       Deductive versus inductive inference

16.45 Exercise: Devise various tests for a hypothesis

Causal inference (continued)

·         Probabilistic versus deterministic causality with exercise on necessary versus sufficient conditions

·         Mechanistic versus counterfactual causality

·         Regular versus singular causation

18.00 End of first day
18.30 Reception at Hotel Derlon
Day 2 Alternative evaluation strategies in theory-based evaluation

Within case study methods for asserting causality

·       Defining and selecting cases


Within case study methods for asserting causality (continued)

·      Process tracing

11.00 Coffee break
11.30 Within case study methods for asserting causality (continued)
Exercise: Creating mechanism-based observable implications for the PDP case (or your own case)
12.15 Lunch

Within case study methods for asserting causality (continued)

·       Congruence analysis

15.00 Coffee break

Within case study methods for asserting causality (continued)

·       Reframing realistic evaluation (Pawson/Tilley) and contribution analysis (Mayne)


Multiple case study methods

·       Purpose of using multiple cases

·       Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)

17.45 Evaluation and end of the seminar

Course venue
European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA)
O.L. Vrouweplein 22
6211 HE, Maastricht
the Netherlands

Programme Organiser
Ms Belinda Vetter
Tel.: + 31 43 3296382

The fee includes documentation, two lunches, one reception  and refreshments. Accommodation and travel costs are at the expense of the participants or their administration.

EIPA offers a 10% 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, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

For all other participants, the regular fee applies.

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

Hotel reservations
EIPA has special price arrangements with a number of hotels. All hotels are within 10 minutes walking distance from EIPA. Should you wish to make use of this possibility, please book directly via the links below. Payment is to be made directly and personally to the hotel upon checking out. At the time of booking, please mention in the requested field the EIPA project number for your course.

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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