Impact evaluation: causal maps, mechanisms and the elusive quest for useful middle range theory
Date: 23 February 2022
Goals of the seminar
- To demonstrate how causal mapping can aid analysis of evaluation data.
- To highlight the important distinction in impact evaluation between multi-case cognitive causal mapping and single case causal inference.
- To illustrate how far causal mapping and mechanism identification in impact evaluation can aid useful middle range theory building.
- To explain why it is not possible to produce useful middle range theory from empirical evidence alone.
James Copestake is Professor of International Development at the University of Bath. His research ranges across agrarian change and rural development, development finance and its evaluation, conceptualisation of poverty and wellbeing, and the political economy of development and development studies. He is Codirector of the Centre of Development Studies, Director of Studies for the professional doctorate in policy research and practice at the Institute for Policy Research, and a founding director of Bath SDR Ltd, a social enterprise dedicated to improving qualitative and mixed method impact evaluation.
The open-source functions/algorithms for causal mapping mentioned in the webinar are at https://stevepowell99.github.io/CausalMapFunctions/
The main website for the Causal Map app is causalmap.app
The map itself: https://causalmap.shinyapps.io/CausalMap2
A work in progress, but comprehensive guide to the app and causal mapping is at https://guide.causalmap.app/