Module code: SOCM054

Module Overview

This module brings together the theoretical, methodological and practical aspects of evaluation research, and applies them to salient policy concerns. Students will be asked to critically engage with the ways in which governments and organisations evaluate interventions in key policy areas and to decide how far evaluation research and other kinds of evidence (can) inform policy responses. 

Module provider


Module Leader

ELSENBROICH Corinna (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: X210

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 130

Seminar Hours: 20

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes: 

  • Types of evaluation: process/formative and impact/summative

  • Evaluation research designs: quantitative and qualitative approaches

  • Causality in social systems: the contribution claim problem

  • Randomised control trials

  • Experimental and quasi-experimental designs

  • Comparative research designs

  • Measuring inputs, outputs and outcomes

  • The nature of evidence and evidence based policy

  • The nature of evidence bases across policy domains and the contribution of evaluation research to these

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Critique of an evaluation research report (1500 words) 50
Coursework Evaluation Research Proposal (2000 words) 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate that they have (a) understood the basic principles behind evaluation research and evidence based approaches and (b) that they can apply this knowledge to the formulation of research and policy agendas that are evidence driven.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • One 1,500 word critique of an evaluation research report which will test students’ capacity to critically engage with examples of evaluation research and to test how far this can be used to inform policy. 

  • One 2,000 word evaluation research proposal which will test students’ understanding of the evaluation process, including definition of the evaluation questions, engagement with stakeholders, methodology choice and data generation.

Formative assessment and feedback 

  • Students will be asked to work in small groups in most sessions and then present and discuss ideas based on the topics covered for that week. Formal verbal feedback will be given at the end of the session.

Module aims

  • • Introduce the principles of evaluation research
  • • Explore the main theoretical, methodological and practical issues associated with designing and implementing quantitative and qualitative evaluations
  • • Consider the significance of evidence based research in shaping practice and policy
  • • Understand how evaluation research can contribute to evidence based approaches
  • • Understand the role of evaluation within the policy process

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Understand the basic methodological principles underpinning evaluation research C
002 Use social research methods and methodologies to address evaluation questions CP
003 Understand the significance of evidence as a tool for policy development C
004 Appreciate the theoretical, methodological, technical and practical problems encountered when evaluating policies and programmes P
005 Apply evaluation and other social scientific methodologies to developing evidence bases in relation to policies and programmes T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to: 

Encourage students to think critically about evaluation and evidence based approaches and to identify how evaluation can be used as an evidential tool

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Ten 2 hour seminars based around lectures, group work and open discussions

  • Students are expected to critically engage with weekly topics and will be asked to contribute to group presentations towards the end of the module

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOCM054

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Social Research Methods MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.