M&E Thursday Talk – Principles-Focused Evaluation with Michael Quinn Patton

Michael Quinn Patton

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Join DME for Peace on Thursday April 5th at 10:00am EDT for a special hour length edition of the M&E Thursday Talks as we welcome Michael Quinn Patton to lead a discussion on “Principles-Focused Evaluation: The Guide.”


Evaluation continues to evolve and innovate. The foundations of evaluation are built on methods, frameworks, and approaches for project and program evaluation.  But new evaluands (objects of evaluation) require new approaches. Evaluating strategy, collective impact, innovations, complex dynamic systems changes, and global initiatives cannot be evaluated simply by applying project and program evaluation methods and frameworks.  Principles-focused evaluation is one new direction in evaluation

An effectiveness principle is a statement that provides guidance about how to think or behave toward some desired result (either explicit or implicit) based on norms, values, beliefs, experience, evidence, and knowledge. The actual effectiveness of a principle is a hypothesis until evaluated within some context to determine its relative meaningfulness, truth, feasibility, and utility for those attempting to follow it. There are principles that provide guidance for personal behaviour, programs, initiatives, and evaluation. Principles can be evaluated, then, but evaluating principles is different from evaluating projects and programs. Examples of principles-focused evaluations will be presented.

Building off Michael’s new book, Principles-focused evaluation is especially appropriate for helping innovative initiatives navigate the uncertainties and turbulence of complex dynamic systems.

Principles-focused evaluation provides a contextually sensitive approach for evaluating principles-based initiatives. In this webinar, Michael will discuss the three core evaluation questions which are:

  • To what extent are the principles meaningful and actionable by those to whom they are targeted?
  • If meaningful, to what extent are they adhered to?
  • If adhered to, what results from principles-based interventions?

Thus, Principles-Focused Evaluation treats principles as the object of evaluation (the evaluand) and designs an evaluation to assess both implementation and consequences of principles-based change efforts.

We hope that you are able to join us!

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