Building Collaborative Capacity through 'Theories of Change': Early Lessons from the Evaluation of Health Action Zones in England

Helen Sullivan, Marian Barnes, Elizabeth Matka

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    In the UK a great deal of attention is currently focused on the potential of the `theories of change' approach to evaluating complex public policy interventions. However, there is still relatively little empirical material describing its application. This article discusses the use of `theories of change' in the national evaluation of English Health Action Zones (HAZs). It locates `theories of change' within the wider context of evaluation approaches and assesses its strengths and weaknesses as an evaluation framework. The article then focuses on a key aspect of complex public policy interventions — cross-sector collaboration. Drawing on data about cross-sector partnerships and community involvement from the English HAZ evaluation, the article explores the contribution of `theories of change' towards examining the building of collaborative capacity in HAZs. The article also describes the `co-research' approach being employed within the national HAZ evaluation. It discusses how this approach can complement the use of `theories of change', contribute to managing change within organizations and communities and facilitate more effective use of evaluation within a local health context
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)205-226pp
    JournalEvaluation
    Volume8
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2002

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