ARTD’s Review on choosing appropriate designs and methods for impact evaluation has now been published by the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.
This Review was conducted in conjunction with Professor Patricia Rogers of RMIT and betterevaluation.org to provide the Department with advice on selecting impact evaluation methods. The review identifies a role for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in making causal inferences about programme impacts—but one limited by assumptions and questions of external validity when used to evaluate public policy and programme interventions into complex social systems. Rather than any particular method, the review describes a focus for impact evaluation on understanding the nature of the programme or intervention, the purpose for which any specific evaluation is being conducted, and the resources available for generating reliable and valid evidence to inform decision making. The report outlines a large array of approaches and methods for monitoring and impact evaluation and has stimulated discussion within the Department about the most appropriate way to evaluate a number of flagship programmes. You can access the review from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science's website.