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QUALEVAL

This blog is initiated by the Laboratory for interdisciplinary evaluation of public policies (LIEPP), a French interdisciplinary research center specializing in policy evaluation. LIEPP is based at Sciences Po, Paris, and develops its activities in partnership with Université de Paris (UP).
As part of LIEPP’s cross-cutting activities, QUALEVAL aims at improving collective skills in qualitative evaluation, through a dialogue between qualitative evaluation methods developed in different academic disciplines and in professional practices of evaluation.
This project offers accessible reviews of key methodological publications on various qualitative evaluation techniques and approaches, including techniques which, commonly used by professional evaluators, are less familiar to academics practicing fundamental research. These article summaries, and other relevant resources, are available on this blog.
QUALEVAL is conceived as a methodological resource for academic researchers interested in evaluation, as well as for professional evaluators in the public and private sectors. It also aims at providing an accessible introduction to key qualitative evaluation techniques to researchers and evaluators with a training in quantitative methods, in view of fostering mixed-methods projects and an improved dialogue between qualitative and quantitative methods.

Search protocol and organization of references:

The articles selected to be summarized as part of this project were identified through a systematic literature search in the following 8 evaluation journals: Evaluation, Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, American Journal of evaluation, Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, Evaluation review, New directions for evaluation, African Evaluation Journal, Evaluation Journal of Australasia.

Further journal references, as well as book chapters, were then added through snowball sampling (introductory methodological texts being more commonly published in a book format, as well as more advanced contributions). Beyond the references summarized here, a broader list of references is available through Zotero.

The summaries are organized around 14 main themes of varied extent, which include fundamental research methods which are commonly used in evaluation (for example, semi-structured interviews, document analysis, observation, case studies, qualitative comparative analysis, process-tracing) as well as original methods developed by the field of evaluation, such as theory-driven evaluation, realist evaluation, outcome harvesting, contribution analysis, most significant change technique. While not strictly deriving from the practice of evaluation, other methods such as participatory methods and mixed-methods (a category in which we include reflections on the differences between qualitative and quantitative methods as well as approaches to articulate them) have considerably benefited from the input of this field. The categories offered here are flexible, and relate to different scales of analysis (some refer to epistemological approaches, other to more specific research techniques). They should not be taken as an exhaustive classification of qualitative evaluation methods, but rather as a guide to orient readers within the existing literature.


QUALEVAL Summaries

  • Introduction to qualitative evaluation
  • Case studies
  • Document analysis
  • Focus groups
  • Observation
  • Process-tracing
  • Semi-structured interviews
  • Theory-driven evaluation
  • Realist evaluation
  • Contribution analysis
  • Most significant change (MSC) technique
  • Outcome harvesting
  • Participatory methods
  • Mixed methods
  • Qualitative comparative analysis (QCA)

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