Choosing appropriate designs and methods for impact evaluation

Researchers from RMIT’s Centre for Applied Social Research and ARTD Consulting have authored a report that will make evaluating the impact of investment in industry and innovation much clearer.

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) commissioned the ‘Choosing appropriate designs and methods for impact evaluation’ report (PDF 1.02 MB) to investigate the challenges and approaches relevant to impact evaluation in an industry context.

Measuring impact in an industry, innovation and science context is not straightforward; expected and unexpected impacts may not emerge for a number of years after program or policy implementation and there may be a number of actors at play which can make measuring direct cause and effect difficult.

The report draws on interviews with department staff, a literature review, and the BetterEvaluation framework to explore a range of impact evaluation methods that can be used to answer the different types of evaluation questions that are likely to occur in an industry context.

RMIT’s Professor Patricia Rogers, lead author of the report and Director of BetterEvaluation, said the report challenges the ‘gold standard’ idea – that there’s a ranking order of the best evaluation designs.

The DIIS website describes the report as ‘[breaking] new ground, as methods of evaluating impact in an industry context have not previously been widely explored’.

The report forms the first stage in a larger project to build departmental capacity for impact evaluation.

The timing of the report coincides with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s release of the Innovation Statement earlier in December, which heralds in Australia’s new ‘ideas boom’ and pledges more government attention and funding to innovation within industry and research.

Originally published by RMIT News