Steve Montague

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.

Does Your Implementation Fit Your Theory of Change?

Authors:

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

A brief review of evaluation findings in almost any given domain typically reveals that most and sometimes all major findings deal with the implementation of initiatives—also known as action theory. Moreover, the findings regarding implementation frequently allude to mismatches between the type or level of implementation occurring and the fundamental nature of the initiative. Case examples will illustrate that while all permutations and combinations of change and action theories cannot be summarily assessed, one can use case analysis to draw some lessons to suggest that some combinations are essentially toxic, while others provide at least a reasonable chance of success. The implication is that further systematic coding and analysis of change theories, action theories, and in particular their combinations in programs could produce useful insights for both evaluation and public-policy decision making.

Special Issue

Advocacy Evaluation Theory as a Tool for Strategic Conversation: A 25-year Review of Tobacco Control Advocacy at the Canadian Cancer Society

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Pages:
125-138

Advocacy evaluation has been considered difficult, even in specific and uncomplicated situations. This article describes a short evaluative review of a series of tobacco control policy advocacy activities involving multiple parties over 25 years. Despite its obvious limitations, the effort suggests that the retrospective development of a structured contribution analysis and "key event" stories from documentary and key informant information can generate compelling circumstantial evidence for impact. Perhaps more importantly, the study was found to provide what appear to be valuable insights and lessons for the planning and management of future advocacy initiatives.

Spring

Focusing on Inputs, Outputs, and Outcomes: Are International Approaches to Performance Management Really So Different?

Authors:
Pages:
139-148

The focus of performance information appears, on the surface, to differ among Canadian, Australian, and US federal governments. While these countries emphasize different aspects of performance, their federal guidelines on performance measurement share important common ground - the logic model. A performance logic model helps clarify the linkages between inputs, activities, and process and outputs, short- and long-term outcomes, and impacts. The model assists both analysts and managers to articulate the cause-effect theory of a program or service and should answer the fundamental questions about WHY an initiative exists, WHAT the expected outcomes are, WHO the program or service will reach and HOW it will be delivered. There is a tendency for organizations to focus on measurement before first describing the logic of their enterprise. International practice suggests that Canadian, Australian, and US approaches all promote the understanding of program logic before measurement. Such an understanding will be key to the successful implementation of performance management initiatives in each of these countries.