Centre for Rural Economy

Thomas Dixon

Thomas Dixon

Democratising Complex Evaluation

Email: t.dixon1@newcastle.ac.uk

Supervisors: Professor Jeremy Phillipson and Dr Amy Proctor

Project overview

Policy evaluations are a vital tool in assessing ‘what works’ in policy interventions. Without realising what is effective and what isn’t, the end result could be poorly designed, ineffective policies continuing at cost to the tax-payer.

Complexity in policy evaluation looks beyond the traditional silos of policy making, to explore trade-offs between policy areas when they are considered holistically.

New methodological tools and frameworks are being applied to policy areas to help policy makers consider complexity within their evaluations.

The introduction of stakeholders' expertise into policy evaluations helps to create a space where multiple expertise can work together to co-create the policy space to see a problem from more perspectives.

This research aims to explore how stakeholders are defined and their expertise utilised and understood within complex policy evaluations.

This is in order to better equip policy evaluators with the skills and knowledge they need to create better evaluations and increase the impact of evaluations.

This research aims to do this by carrying out semi-structured interviews with policy evaluators and methods specialists, followed by an ethnography of policy evaluation environment.

There will also be a period of methodological exploration to investigate if/how innovative evaluation methods utilise stakeholder expertise and empower stakeholders.

This research is in collaboration with the ESRC-funded Centre for Evaluating Complexity Across the Nexus.