[Summary Course] SOC 818 Evaluation and the Policy Process

This unit introduces students to evaluation and accounts for its place in the policy process and social sciences respectively. Students will acquire knowledge of different approaches to evaluation as well as the ethical and political issues surrounding this process. The unit also focuses on how trends informing public sector management have an influence on the evaluation process and the actual implementation of evaluations. Application of concepts and methods of evaluation to current policies and programs will be encouraged through discussion and assessment tasks.


In this first week we need to get to know each other. I am interested to know why you have chosen this unit and what you hope to gain from it. We will talk about that when we see each other on Thursday.

In preparation, I would also like you to read (at least) the attached chapter by Carol Weiss. It is a good introduction to evaluation and easy to read. I have also attached the first chapter of Owen’s book – a favoured resource by Australian evaluators.  Both readings are attached as pdfs.

Weiss C. (1998) Setting the Scene. Evaluation: Methods for Studying Programs and Policies. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Prentice Hall.

Owen JM. (2006) Program Evaluation: Forms and Approaches, Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin.

2. Social Problem | Wicked Problem

In the lecture this week, we consider how social issues go from being a private concern to a public one and when a problem prompts a response. I will also talk about the special kinds of problems that we call “wicked” following the seminal work by Rittel and Webber and what kind of problems these problems raise for evaluation research.

I would like you to read at least the Head reading before coming to class.

Full reference for Conklin:

Conklin J. (2005) Wicked Problems and  Social Complexity. Dialogue Mapping: Building Shared Understanding of Wicked Problem. New York, NY: John Wiley & Son

Tulisan ini merupakan rangkuman sesi kuliah SOC 818 Evaluation and the Policy Process oleh Dr Charlotte Overgaard di Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia pada sesi pertama tahun 2019.

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