Monitoring and Evaluation in Health and Social Development: Interpretive and Ethnographic Perspectives

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Stephen Bell, Peter Aggleton
Routledge, Feb 1, 2016 - Social Science - 256 pages

New approaches are needed to monitor and evaluate health and social development. Existing strategies tend to require expensive, time-consuming analytical procedures. The growing emphasis on results-based programming has resulted in evaluation being conducted in order to demonstrate accountability and success, rather than how change takes place, what works and why. The tendency to monitor and evaluate using log frames and their variants closes policy makers’ and practitioners’ eyes to the sometimes unanticipated means by which change takes place.

Two recent developments hold the potential to transcend these difficulties and to lead to important changes in the way in which the effects of health and social development programming are understood. First, there is growing interest in ways of monitoring programmes and assessing impact that are more grounded in the realities of practice than many of the ‘results-based’ methods currently utilised. Second, there are calls for the greater use of interpretive and ethnographic methods in programme design, monitoring and evaluation.

Responding to these concerns, this book illustrates the potential of interpretative methods to aid understanding and make a difference in real people’s lives. Through a focus on individual and community perspectives, and locally-grounded explanations, the methods explored in this book offer a potentially richer way of assessing the relationships between intent, action and change in health and social development in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas.


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List of illustrations
personal reflections on
What really works? Understanding the role of ™local knowledges
a role for ethnography in evidence
an ethnographically inspired
Designing health and leadership programmes for vulnerable
Using social mapping techniques to guide programme redesign
new approaches to monitoring
a case study of an
Using the Reality Check Approach to shape quantitative
using SenseMaker to assess
The use of the Rapid PEER approach for the evaluation
Can qualitative research rigorously evaluate programme

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About the author (2016)

Stephen Bell is a senior research fellow at the Kirby Institute, UNSW Australia, where he undertakes qualitative and ethnographic sexual health research with young people and other marginalised populations in rural and remote settings. His current interests involve examining how youth-led design of culturally and socially attuned sexual health programmes might evolve from, and be centred on, young people’s own everyday strategies of sexual health risk assessment and harm reduction.

Peter Aggleton is Scientia Professor in Education and Health in the Centre for Social Research in Health at UNSW Australia, where he is also Director of the Arts and Social Sciences Practical Justice Initiative. He has worked internationally in health and development for over 30 years, with a focus on health education and health promotion. He is an adjunct professor in the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University, Australia, and holds visiting professorial positions at the UCL Institute of Education in London, UK, and at the University of Sussex, UK. Alongside his academic work, Peter has served as a senior adviser to numerous international agencies including UNAIDS, UNESCO, UNICEF and WHO.

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