Evaluating to improve
the quality of public programs
Public organizations rely on evaluation to demonstrate the relevance and value of their programs and policies. However, these organizations often do not have the required capacity to produce quality evaluations and to use them to support decision-making and improve interventions.
The research work conducted by Dr. Isabelle Bourgeois seeks to better understand the individual and organizational factors that influence the production and use of quality evaluations. To this end, several lines of investigation are underway: the first set of studies will focus on measuring organizational evaluation capacity through the application of an online instrument. This diagnostic tool enables organizations to identify and implement evaluation capacity building strategies that are adapted to their current needs.
One of the most innovative aspects of our research program is the LaboEval, a social innovation laboratory focusing on evaluation capacity building in non-profit organizations. The lab supports non-profit organizations interested in evaluating their programs or initiatives by providing them with tailored training and by implementing a specific evaluation capacity building strategy to support their work. This five-year project will contribute to the advancement of knowledge on evaluation capacity within the non-profit sector, while supporting non-profits as they strive to reach their social development objectives. The LaboÉval receives funding from the Insight Program of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
An ambitious project currently underway involves the structured review of the literature on organizational evaluation capacity building. This project, which brings together researchers and students from Canada and the United States, is part of a broader initiative funded by the Partnership Program of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
An international project is also underway and focuses on case-centred teaching and learning in evaluation. This project is currently developing a series of theoretical and empirical chapters which will hopefully appear in an upcoming issue of New Directions for Evaluation.
Our ongoing research work also includes a project focused on the neutral assessments that are conducted every five years in the Canadian federal government. These neutral assessments are meant to review departmental evaluation functions and their compliance to evaluation-related policies and directives. This project, which is being carried out in collaboration with representatives from the Treasury Board Secretariat, involves a content analysis of 41 neutral assessment reports published since 2009. The findings of the study will be shared with the federal evaluation function this Fall.
The research work conducted by our research her team will contribute to the improvement of organizational decision-making processes while supporting organizational learning.
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David Buetti works as a research officer for the Labo-Éval project. In this interview conducted by Stéphanie Maltais, he briefly presents the Labo-Éval.
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Members of our team are available to speak in the media about evaluation, program management, and public policy. Do not hesitate to contact us!