Eliciting and reconstructing programme theory: an exercise in translating theory into practice

Siebert, P. ORCID: 0000-0003-3817-229X and Myles, P., 2019. Eliciting and reconstructing programme theory: an exercise in translating theory into practice. Evaluation, 25 (4), pp. 469-476. ISSN 1356-3890

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The importance of evaluation to demonstrate the effectiveness of policies, programmes and interventions is widely recognised. Evaluation in the context of public health and healthcare is viewed as a complicated exercise, particularly when dealing with complex interventions involving multiple partners, multiple components and multiple outcomes. Eliciting the programme theory is an important starting point of an evaluation process to enable the link between theory and action to be articulated. This article gives a pragmatic account of the practicalities of working with stakeholders as they embark on a formative evaluation of a complex public health initiative, using a using a theory-based approach. Drawing on the principles of Leeuw’s strategic assessment, we planned a workshop to reflect the four stages of this approach–group formation, assumption surfacing, dialectical debate and synthesis. Stakeholders took part in four activities–Free Listing, Sphere of Influence, Beattie’s Theoretical Framework and Programme Concept Mapping. We found that our elicitation approach was particularly suited to reconstructing the programme theory in a non-threatening and playful environment, bringing about an alignment of programme theories by consensus and reducing anxiety.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Evaluation
Creators: Siebert, P. and Myles, P.
Publisher: Sage
Date: 1 October 2019
Volume: 25
Number: 4
ISSN: 1356-3890
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 02 Sep 2019 13:30
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2019 10:03
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/37545

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