This is the title of a blog post I wrote for the International Evaluation Academy. The blog opens with: Evaluators need to know more about complexity because the programs they evaluate often exhibit complex behaviors. Without understanding complexity, evaluators cannot construct models, develop methodologies, and interpret data in ways that accurately describe what programs are … Continue reading Why do Evaluators Need to Understand Complexity?
I’m considering pitching a special issue to an evaluation journal titled: How Might Complexity Science Inform the Design and Conduct of Evaluation? I have not committed to this project yet, but I do want to get the idea out there. I’m looking for: 1) critique of this idea, 2) specific topics to cover, 3) friendly … Continue reading How Might Complexity Science Inform the Design and Conduct of Evaluation?
Applying Complexity to Evaluation: Case Based on the GEF’s Resilient Food Systems Program: Integrated Landscape Management to Enhance Food Security and Ecosystem Resilience.
Applying Complexity to Evaluation: Cases Based on the Global Environment Facility’s Resilient Food Systems Program
I have been working on a research proposal to study whether and how constructs from Evolutionary Biology and Ecology might be useful in Evaluation. This is the second of two posts that come from the introductory material in the first proposal. The first is: Evolutionary and Ecological Thinking – Escaping Disciplinary Boundaries.
I have been working on a research proposal to study whether and how constructs from Evolutionary Biology and Ecology might be useful in Evaluation. This is the first of two posts that come from some of the introductory material in the proposal. The second is: Evolutionary and Ecological Constructs that may be Useful in Evaluation.
The graphic superimposes a chessboard on a random walk. It symbolizes a core challenge in evaluation. The Chessboard Program outcomes are predictable in the commonsense definition of predictability.“If I provide service X, outcome A will occur.” That statement is a model: X-->A, and it is the foundation of almost every evaluation model I have seen. … Continue reading What Does the Graphic Header say About Evaluation?
A friend of mind and I were discussing the nature of AEA. I have come to quite a few conclusions about this, but my current thinking is more in the way of questions than answers. As I see it, what’s needed is an exploration of four questions. Where does the evaluation that we do fit … Continue reading Four facets of AEA. Four questions. No answers provided.
In recent years, the evaluation community has been looking to “complexity” as a source for addressing these difficulties.
I am involved in a project that involves helping people make a single choice among multiple technologies. They must commit to one, so there is no waffling. This is one more of many such exercises that I have been involved in over the course of my career, and I have never been fully satisfied with any of them. On an intuitive level, everyone knows they cannot make the best choice, but everyone thinks that they should be able to. I finally figured out why they cannot. I don’t mean that people are not smart enough. I mean that it is impossible. The behavior of complex systems makes it impossible.