Evaluation in the Face of Uncertainty: Maximizing Methodological Choice When Unpredictable Outcomes are Likely


Jonny Morell, Fulcrum Corporation


Unintended consequences of program behavior can be arrayed on a continuum from “those which could have reasonably been foreseen” (at least in dim outline), to those which cannot be predicted because they emanate from complex system behavior. Different evaluation tactics are relevant along this continuum. This presentation will begin with an explanation of what makes systems complex, and proceed to a brief overview of evaluation tactics that are useful toward the “unpredictable” end of the continuum. It will conclude with a framework for making methodological choices, given the fact that any tactic implemented may induce new difficulties for conducting an successful evaluation.

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