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Creating Systemic Design-Informed Impact Evaluation Frameworks: A case study with the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund

Format: Papers, RSD12, Topic: Cases & Practice, Topic: Mapping & Modelling, Topic: Methods & Methodology

Lewis Muirhead and Ryan J. A. Murphy

In this presentation, we share the development of a theory of systemic change (ToSC) with the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF). The DWF works to build cultural understanding and create a path toward reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. In this case, a ToSC was developed to amalgamate and synthesise the work of multiple previous approaches to evaluation at the DWF. The DWF’s existing Theory of Change provided a limited appreciation of the complexity of pathways from programming to outcomes, making it difficult to describe the activities of the DWF in an evaluable fashion. Through data collection and surveys, a ToSC was created in a process that also resulted in the streamlining of objectives from 22 to 11. The resulting ToSC rendered the organisation’s theory of the system and its programs in pragmatic detail, allowing evaluators to create a systemically informed impact evaluation framework in the form of specific questions and data collection to guide program design and evaluation. Moreover, the ToSC exposed the interwoven connections and logic between the DWF’s programs, allowing for organisation-wide insights and strategy decisions that were previously unavailable. We end this presentation with a discussion of the benefits and limitations of this methodology and some recommendations for future evaluators interested in using ToSC.

KEYWORDS: impact evaluation frameworks, theory of systemic change, theory of change, program evaluation, leverage analysis

RSD TOPIC(S): Cases & Practice, Mapping & Modelling, Methods & Methodology

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Citation Data

Author(s): Lewis Muirhead and Ryan J. A. Murphy
Year: 2023
Title: Creating Systemic Design-Informed Impact Evaluation Frameworks: A case study with the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
URL: https://rsdsymposium.org/systemic-design-impact-evaluation-frameworks
Host: Georgetown University
Location: Washington DC, USA
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 30 September 2023
Last update: no update
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404
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