Chapter

Evaluating social cohesion

Helen Sullivan

in Promoting social cohesion

Published by Policy Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9781847426956
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303084 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847426956.003.0003
Evaluating social cohesion

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This chapter addresses the evaluation of social cohesion. It first determines some key evaluation challenges posed by the proposed definition of social cohesion. The chapter then situates these challenges in ongoing debates about the merits of different approaches to evaluation and highlights the potential contribution of recent developments in ‘theory-based evaluation’. Drawing on theory of change (ToC), it explores how these challenges may be met and the implications for evaluators. Three important debates have dominated evaluation research and practice. They concern the approach to evaluation, the methods used in evaluation, and the relationship between the evaluator and those being evaluated. The application of a ToC approach to the evaluation of social cohesion is also considered. There is an important relationship between evaluator and ‘subject’ in ToCs. Under New Labour, evaluation's profile was raised and it was acknowledged as a key element in the government's focus on ‘evidence-based policy making’.

Keywords: social cohesion; theories of change; theory-based evaluation; New Labour; evaluators

Chapter.  6680 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Urban and Rural Studies

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