Assessing the value for money of active labour market programming for persons with disabilities

Treasury Board of Canada's new policy on evaluation and its accompanying directive have placed increased pressure on those conducting federal evaluations to not only quantify the impacts of programming but also make measurable assessments of their value. However, making accurate statements about the value for money of programming can be difficult during evaluations. A number of technical and practical challenges can make common approaches infeasible. This article discusses a recent assessment of the value for money undertaken during the evaluation of the Canada-Manitoba Labour Market Agreement for Persons with Disabilities. It demonstrates a number of approaches that can be used to overcome some of the most common barriers to the assessment of value for money in evaluations.

The Art of the Nudge: Five Practices for Developmental Evaluators

This article focuses on developmental evaluation, based on an action research study involving a group of developmental evaluators in a three-year comprehensive community initiative on youth and community change. The study presents five practices found central to the art of the nudge: (a) practicing servant leadership, (b) sensing program energy, (c) supporting common spaces, (d) untying knots iteratively, and (e) paying attention to structure. These practices can help developmental evaluators detect and support opportunities for learning and adaptation leading to right-timed feedback.

L'étude des mécanismes de changement, une avenue de recherche prometteuse pour optimiser les programmes de traitement destinés aux jeunes en difficulté: enjeux conceptuels et méthodologiques

To date, many treatment programs for troubled youth have been shown to be effective on the basis of rigorous studies, but the processes responsible for the success of these programs are still unknown. This article presents the study of mechanisms of change as a promising research avenue for optimizing treatment programs based on their capacity to identify why, how, for whom, and in what contexts they work best. The theory-driven approach to program evaluation is proposed as a useful framework to guide the identification of potential mediating and moderating variables in treatment outcomes. Finally, conceptual and methodological clarifications are provided, illustrated by examples based on treatment programs for children with problematic sexual behaviour or for juvenile sex offenders.

The key functions of collaborative logic modeling: Insights from the British Columbia Early Childhood Dental Programs

As part of a government partnership to evaluate British Columbia Early Childhood Dental Programs, the development of a provincial logic model provided an effective tool to integrate regional variations of dental public health programming and also foster collaborative processes with program stakeholders. Specifically, logic modelling provided a program documentation tool, a validity feedback loop, a means to collaborate across different levels of organization, and a forum for cross-health authority decision-making. This article highlights our experiences using logic models to enhance and provide structure to a collaborative approach in evaluation.

BOOK REVIEWS: Wyatt Knowlton, L., & Phillips, C. C. (2013). The Logic Model Guidebook: Better Strategies for Great Results (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 170 pages.


BOOK REVIEWS: Funnell, S. C., and Rogers, P. J. (2011). Purposeful Program Theory. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 550 pages.


BOOK REVIEWS: H. J. Rubin & I. S. Rubin (2011). Qualitative Interviewing: The Art of Hearing Data (3ième éd.). Thousand Oaks, CA : Sage, 360 pages.


Current Evaluation Practices Involving Resource Allocation Processes in Canadian Healthcare Organizations: A Survey of Senior Managers

Resource allocation is a key function of senior leadership teams within healthcare organizations. Academic support of this function has traditionally focused on constructing tools to make decisions more formalized, and much less attention has been paid to understanding resource allocation as a management process. In particular, evaluation has been a missing aspect. The authors conducted a pan-Canadian survey of senior managers within the healthcare system. This survey included questions related to formal evaluation of their resource allocation processes and outcomes. We use these data to shed some light upon the state of priority-setting practice in Canada at the present time.