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The storyline

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  1. The storyline The programme evaluation (PE) literature has – over the past forty years – developed a fairly standard classification of evaluation types. There are certain distinctions that are (at least within realist approaches) relatively widely accepted. I begin by discussing some key notions in programme avluation, including the notion of the Logic Model framework and give an example of how it has been useful in constructing a monitoring framework of research at the systems/institutional level. Part Two is devoted to a case study in research impact assessment. In this discussion I reconstruct the processes and events that led to high levels of uptake and impact. In the final part of the paper, I make some general comments and observations about the notion of research impact.

  2. Part One:Impact assessment within programme evaluation studies

  3. The logic of interventions Context INTERVENTION STRUCTURE Programme resources/ Activities/outputs E. g. workshops/ Courses/ manuals INTERVENTION MANAGEMENT Human resources Project administration M&E system GOALS Objectives Target group Stakeholders MEASURABLE OUTCOMES More knowledgeable / Increased competence/ Higher productivity

  4. Applying the logic model to interventions Problem Programme aims and objectives Resources Activities Outputs What you need to carry out the activities you have planned – people, money, materials, infrastructure What you do with the resources you have What the activities produce e.g. products/ deliverables/ goods/ services Outcomes/ effects Indicators What happens to the target group as a result of the delivery of the programme Concrete and measurable “signs” of “occurrence” which are often quantified and aggregated into composite measures (indices)

  5. Types of programme monitoring • Process or implementation evaluation • Process evaluation verifies what the programme is and whether it is delivered as intended to the targeted recipients • It addresses issues about the effectiveness of programme operations, service delivery and whether it is successful in reaching the target group as planned (coverage) • Routine programme monitoring and management information systems • Gathers information on programme outputs e.g. Number of clients served, quality of service provided, nr of workshops delivered,etc. • Continuous monitoring of indicators of selected aspects of programme processes or activities as a tool for effective management • Performance measurement and monitoring • Accountability demands require that programmes demonstrate that they accomplish something worthwhile often against some set standards or benchmarks • Orientated towards the assessment of outcome, I.e. the results of services

  6. Impact assessment in programme evaluation The basic aim of impact assessment is to produce an estimate of the net effects of an intervention – i.e. an estimate of the impact of the intervention uncontaminated by the influence of other events or processes that may also affect the behaviour or changes that a programme is directed at achieving (Freeman & Rossi) Prerequisites for assessing impact • The programme’s objectives must be sufficiently well articulated to make it possible to specify credible measures of the expected outcomes • The programme must have been sufficiently well implemented – there must be no question whether its critical elements have been delivered to the appropriate targets

  7. Gross versus net outcomes • Establishing a programme’s impact, i.e. its combined and accumulative effects (outcomes), is identical to establishing that the programme is a cause of a specific effect or effects. • It is important that causality not be confused with lawlikeness. “A is a cause of B” usually means that if we introduce A, B is more likely to result than if we do not introduce A. This statement does not imply that B always results, nor does it means that B occurs only if A is introduced. Effects of other processes (extraneous factors) Gross outcome Effects of Intervention (net effect) Design effects + = +

  8. An example at the systems/institutional level • The National Plan on Higher Education (2002) has set the following five systemic goals for Higher Education research • To redress the inequities of the past as far as race and gender is concerned (Equity) • To ensure that HE research is in line with national goals (Responsiveness) • To increase the volume of research output (Quantity) • To improve the quality of research produced in the system (Quality) • To improve the efficiency (throughput) of the system (Efficiency)

  9. Domains by system goals

  10. An example of indicators of research (inputs, outputs, effects) at the systems/ institutional level Equity Participation Responsiveness Quality Efficiency RESEARCH Researchers Funding Research process Research outputs EFFECTS Extent of research utilisation [R] Internal efficiency Effectiveness Nr of black and female researchers getting NRF funding [EQ] R&D expenditure [P] Contract income [R] THRIP funding [R] Numbers of rated researchers [Q] NRF grants in focus areas [R] Nr of black, female and young PhD’s [EQ] Nr of research publications [P] Nr of ISI publications [Q] Publication trends in line with national goals [R] Research co-authorship [R] Publications per FTE researcher [EF] Publications per R&D expended [EF]

  11. Part Two: A case study in research impact assessment CREST’s research programme on the demographics of SA scientists

  12. The CREST research on the demographics of the SA S&T workforce: The origins NRTA [R&D Survey] Survey database Development of SA Knowledgebase Public presentation DACST not interested in its further development 1997 ---------------------1998 ---------------1999---------------2000 ----------- 2001

  13. The production of scientific knowledge in SA: Race trends

  14. The production of scientific knowledge in SA: Gender trends

  15. The production of scientific knowledge in SA: Age trends

  16. Initial dissemination of the results (2001 – 2002) • Public presentations • Science in Africa symposium (October 2001) • SARIMA founding meeting (February 2002) • NACI Discussion Forum in Pretoria (April 2002) • Publications • (with A Bawa) “Research” chapter in Transformation in higher education in SA (July 2001 submitted; published in 2002) • NACI Facts and Figures – 2002 • South African science in transition. Science, technology and society Vol 8 (2003)

  17. Accelerated uptake and utilisation of the CREST results • NACI commission on South African Science: Facts and figures (November 2001/ Finished April 2002) • COHORT request (June 2002) for a think piece on “A new generation of scientists” (report submitted in December 2002) • All three slides on the “frozen demographics” - Department of Science and Technology – Final version of the new R&D Strategy (August 2002) • Request by the Academy of Science of South Africa for a document on: Promoting worldwide S&T capabilities for the 21st century (August 2002 report submitted/ symposium held October 2002) • Reference in numerous press statements by ministers, directors-generals and senior officials of the DST, DoE, NRF, SAUVCA and others • Requests from a number of universities and professional societies (Physics/ Marine Science) for the data.

  18. Mapping the effects of the CREST research programme IE111 (journals) IE11 (expanded research programme) IE1 (better understanding) IE112 (language) IE21 (expanded dbase) IE2 (dbase development) IE222 (OSTIA) UE1 (inform R&D strategy) Leverage funds for R&D ? UE21 DST UE22 NRF UE2 (inform strategic planning) UE31 (UCT) UE3 (inform HR policy) UE32 (US) ACCUMULATIVE EFFECTS

  19. Some observations on the process • Researcher directed and driven dissemination soon complemented by user/demand-driven dissemination • Differentiated effects: The research produced a range of very different kinds of effects across a wide range of actors • The majority of the effects were unexpected and were not foreseen • One effect often spun-off multiple subsequent effects

  20. Part ThreeConcluding observations

  21. Where programme evaluation tools are useful • Outputs and outcomes or effects not to be confused: Research outputs are the immediate (epistemic) results (findings/data) that flow from the research process. Outcomes (effects) imply some change/ some recognition of the value of these results and subsequent utilisation or uptake thereof: other scientists who cite my results, users who apply the newly acquired information in various ways through technology development or improvement, policy formation, improvement of practice, and so on. • Research outputs can generate multiple effects: One discovery or research finding can produce many and diverse outcomes (some immediate = which we will call the proximate effects/ others accruing over a longer time frame = which we will call accumulative effects) • Effects in turn often spin-off other effects (multiplier effect) and new effects (often unintended) emerge over time

  22. Knowledge production, uptake or utilisation and impact Modes of research Research (based) Outputs/ results Production New knowledge Knowledge applications/ technologies CODIFIED New facts/ theories/ models EMBODIED Students Uptake Policies/ legislation/practices Process technologies Product technologies Tests/ scenario’s/ systems Scientific community Society Government Industry Impact

  23. But there are also fundamental differences between intervention and research programmes ! • An intervention programme = a structured set of goal-driven activities that are aimed at producing certain (measurable) positive outcomes/effects for a specific target group • A research programme = an assemblage of loosely interrelated, sometimes converging but also diverging, activities (research lines) intended to produce credible results that have epistemic (knowledge generating) and non-epistemic (symbolic/social/ technological/ economic) value • Proper implementation of an intervention programme (a training programme or poverty alleviation programme) implies that there are expected outcomes that can be “predicted” – that are reasonably determinate • Good execution of a research programme still does not imply that the outcomes are determinate – research essentially remains an open-ended process of unforeseen discoveries and findings

  24. Concluding observations The impact of a intervention AND research programmes is usually….. • Only evident after some time has lapsed (the notion of emergence) • The combined result of various effects or outcomes that together produces the benefits to the users (the notion of accumulation) • Made up of very different (in nature) kinds of mutually reinforcing effects (the notion of differentiation) BUT whereas intervention programmes have both intended AND unintended effects (the notion of goal-free vs. driven evaluations) Research programmes are more than likely to include unforeseen than foreseen effects (the notion of indeterminacy)

  25. Conclusions Measuring the impact of scientific research (programmes) means observing/estimating the The accumulated, differentiated proximate and emergent effects – some of which will of necessity be unforeseen

  26. Thank you