Evaluation 2018: Speaking Truth to Power

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Mixing Methods to Capture Complex Truths: Case-based Conversations between Systems & Mixed Method Evaluators

Session Number: 1466
Track: Systems in Evaluation
Session Type: Think Tank
Tags: complexity, mixed methods evaluation, system evaluation, Systems Thinking
Session Facilitator: Emily Frances Gates [Assistant Professor - Boston College]
First Author or Discussion Group Leader: Pablo Vidueira [Global Systems Change (Blue Marble) Evaluator - Global Alliance for the Future of Food]
Time: Nov 02, 2018 (04:30 PM - 05:30 PM)
Room: Hilton - Veterans Meeting Room A

Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract (150 words): 

Systems and mixed method evaluators view the world as complex and think that we can better examine this complexity through the use of multiple methods, methodologies, and philosophical paradigms. For decades, both groups have been engaged in research, practice, and conversation about how best to mix methods to capture the complexity of truth(s). However, these have largely been parallel efforts with little exchange between them. This session explores how systems and mixed methods evaluators can learn from one another to purposefully and responsibly mix methods to capture complex truths. Participants will informally share evaluation cases in which multiple methods were used, such as: viable systems modeling & critical systems heuristics; system dynamics & soft systems methodology; and rich pictures, surveys, & case studies. Attendees will discuss challenges and insights from mixing methods in each case and contribute to broader conversation about strengthening the “mix” in systems evaluation.



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