I recently presented a webinar to SAMEA. Slides and a recording of the webinar can be found here.
Is it worth our attention to look to Ecology and Evolutionary Biology for help in developing program theory, choosing methodology, and interpreting data? It is when we evaluate policy because policy change affects groups of connected programs and program environments, as those programs and environments evolve over time. As with all disciplines, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology offer unique ways to identify topics to research, develop models, generate hypotheses, choose among methodological tools, define data needs, specify acceptable answers, and interpret data. Each of these discrete elements has its own utility. But perhaps more important, each element is a node in a network: decisions about each have implications for the others. Under these conditions, a unique analytical mindset emerges. The potential contribution of ecological and evolutionary biological thinking to Evaluation lies both in that mindset, and in the utility of discrete tools and concepts.