Rapid Evaluation Approaches for Complex Initiatives. C. Complex Systems Evaluations


Innovators within and outside of government are also seeking to conduct systems change evaluations of large-scale, multisector, multilevel, and community-based initiatives, including those aimed at transforming juvenile justice systems, building healthy communities, and developing and implementing health reforms. Mathematica is currently evaluating these initiatives using a systems-based, mixed methods evaluation design that incorporates ongoing feedback. This three-part process matches the evaluation’s design with (1) the evaluation’s goals and intended uses, (2) the complexity of the intervention, and (3) the complex dynamics of the intervention’s context or environment (Hargreaves 2010). Other research and evaluation approaches have also been developed to provide rapid feedback to complex, large-scale initiatives: action research, developmental evaluation, and collective impact projects.

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