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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

SLSP5309M Policy and Programme Evaluation

15 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Dr Ana Manzano

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Module replaces

SLSP5233M Evaluation Research

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module aims to provide an overview of the theory, methodology, practice and usage of programme and policy evaluation. There has been a renewed interest in using evidence to support policy and practice development. Policy documents have stressed the need for policies to be both evidence-based and evaluated, so that lessons can be learnt and effectiveness assessed. The module will introduce students to a range of different methodologies for conducting policy and programme evaluation and support them to think critically about the strengths and weaknesses of each methodology.


The module will introduce the family of methods used to conduct evaluations, including: randomised controlled trials, quasi-experimental methods, formative evaluation, process evaluation, empowerment evaluation, theory-based approaches and realist evaluation. It will also cover some of the approaches used in systematic review, including Cochrane reviews and realist synthesis.
The course will also cover the issues of how, and the extent to which, evaluation (and policy research more generally) is utilised in the policy making process.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the course students should have the ability to:
- understand the historical development of evaluation research
- critically evaluate the spectrum of evaluation methodologies
- critically evaluate the spectrum of methods of research synthesis
- design an evaluation for a typical intervention
- design a review of the evidence on a family of programmes
- describe and critically evaluate existing programme evaluations
- understand the ways in which evaluation is used in policy making and the barriers to utilisation and dissemination.


The course consists of a weekly 1 hour lecture followed by a 1 hour workshop, for which students have to prepare.
The course will cover the following:
• An overview of evaluation terminology and definitions to enable students to think about the difference between research and evaluation
• An understanding of what is a programme and the importance of and strategies for understanding what the programme is intended to do in order to evaluate it
• An introduction to randomised controlled trials, the assumptions underlying the validity of trials and attempts to address threats to their validity.
• An introduction to summative and process evaluation
• Empowerment evaluations and community participation in evaluation
• An introduction to theory drive and realist evaluation
• Systematic reviews as a form of evaluation
• Realist synthesis
• Research utilisation and working with policy makers

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours128.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Reading course materials and preparation for weekly seminar: – 78 hours
Preparation for assessed essay: 50 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students are allocated a tutor for the course and are invited to attend the open door times of this tutor to discuss their ideas for their essay; there is also a specific time set aside towards the end of the course for ‘essay clinics’. Students are required to submit an outline of their essay to their tutor for feedback 1 month before it is due to be submitted.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportEvaluation Report 3000 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 20/07/2021


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