From their paper at the Evaluation for an Equitable Society (EES) conference.
Lunchtime Talk – 18 February: Dr Kerstin Junge & Giorgia Iacopini.
Across the EU, tight public sector finances have increased funders‘ interest in financing ‘what works’ rather than (always) developing new solutions to tackle complex social problems. This has led to a rising interest in rigorous impact evaluations on the one hand, and in replicating (i.e. implementing them in a different context or with a different target group) interventions that have thus been proven to work on the other. In this climate, process evaluations seem to have fallen somewhat out of favour.
The TIHR is currently undertaking the process evaluation of a major replication programme in the UK (Realising Ambition, funded by the BIG Lottery Fund): one of the lessons is that rather than a guarantee for success, implementing what works in one setting and with one target group elsewhere is, in fact, a complex and uncertain process, requiring adaptation and continuous learning from all those involved. Given the characteristics of replication, both impact and process evaluation data have an important role to play. The challenge is how to use both sets of data together rather than treating them in isolation from each other.
In this talk we will share some thoughts on the use of evaluation in the replication of social interventions. Drawing on our learning from undertaking the process evaluation of Realising Ambition, we will explore how funders, practitioners and evaluators can think about how impact and process evaluation data can be combined to manage the uncertainties of the replication venture and protect scarce public resources.
Dr Kerstin Junge is a Principal Researcher and Consultant at the TIHR. Her work focuses on process and outcome evaluations of complex and innovative projects and programmes. It often aims to both define and assess outcomes as well as to generate learning for funders and beneficiaries to support improvement and scaling. She is currently directing the process evaluation of the Big Lottery Fund’s Realising Ambition Programme, which supports the replication of proven interventions to help young people achieve their potential.
Giorgia Iacopini is a Senior Researcher and Consultant at the TIHR. She works extensively with the public sector including central and local government and community and voluntary sectors, undertaking impact and process evaluations of a number of large and smaller programmes. Her work cuts across a variety of policy areas, with a particular interest in community cohesion, the prevention of violent extremism and partnership working. She is currently managing the process evaluation of the Realising Ambition programme.