Sebastian Lemire

Special Issue

How We Model Matters: A Manifesto for the Next Generation of Program Theorizing

Authors:

This ahead of print version may differ slightly from the final published version.

In this concluding article, grounded on the exemplary contributions contained in the preceding pages, the guest editors scale the proverbial soapbox and present a manifesto to guide the pursuit and advancement of the next generation of program theorizing. Formulating ten declarations for program theory development and examination, the modest hope of the authors is to motivate and inspire reflective evaluation practitioners to broaden their views, approaches, and techniques for future program theorizing.

Meta-Modeling: A Theory-Based Synthesis Approach

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This ahead of print version may differ slightly from the final published version.

Research synthesis has become an increasingly popular approach for summarizing primary research. In the past two decades, interest in mixed methods reviews has steadily grown, followed, more recently, by an increased attention to theory-based syntheses. This article advances and illustrates a practical application of meta-modeling—a mixed methods, theory-based synthesis approach. The proposed methodology combines meta-analytic and qualitative comparative techniques in developing a program theory—a meta-model—of how and why a program works. As the article illustrates, meta-modeling provides for a structured and transparent synthesis approach for building program theories across existing studies.

Can’t See the Wood for the Logframe: Integrating Logframes and Theories of Change in Development Evaluation

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This ahead of print version may differ slightly from the final published version.

There are numerous ways in which to model the underlying theory of programs. In the context of international development evaluation, the most ubiquitous are likely “logframes” and to some extent “theories of change,” both of which may serve to guide program development and management, monitoring, and evaluation. While logframes and theories of change are often developed in parallel, they are rarely fully integrated in their practical application. Drawing on lessons from a recent theory-based evaluation, this article argues that fully integrating the program theory of change within the program logframe provides for a stronger and more holistic understanding of program progress.

Fall

Contribution Analysis Applied: Reflections on Scope and Methodology

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Pages:
29-57

This article investigates contribution analysis, an analytical tool invented by John Mayne, from both a theoretical and an operational perspective. Despite the substantial attention that contribution analysis has received, few studies appear to have applied it in practice. The article discusses the broadened scope of contribution analysis by analyzing its theoretical and methodological tenets, and examines its practical applicability in relation to two evaluations. The authors find that contribution analysis has much to offer the current theory-based evaluation landscape, but that further elaboration of the theoretical and methodological framework of contribution analysis is also needed.