By the end of this course students will be able to:
- Distinguish between major strands in evaluation research;
- Reconstruct, interpret and ultimately evaluate concrete policies (programs);
- Apply qualitative research methods, such as open ended interviews and the subsequent analysis of qualitative data;
- Understand and apply the basic concepts of a sociological analysis of specific policy field;
- Formulate coherent policy recommendations based on supporting evidence.
There is a growing need for the evaluation of public policy, related programs or interventions and underlying program theories.|
In this course students will learn to evaluate public policy. The course is centered around contemporary public policy and social problems. The course consists of two parts. In the first part, students will become familiar with the most important theoretical perspectives, concepts and tools of sociological evaluation research. In the second part, student will put in practice what they learned in the first part, by doing an evaluation research for a municipality or another real commissioner, using interviews and mostly qualitative data analysis. This research results in a policy advice.
This course aims to contribute to achieving the following learning outcomes of the Bachelor's in Sociology:
1a The most important social issues in contemporary Dutch society in an international comparative and historical perspective as well as how these differ from sociological questions.
1b The main issues/topics in sociology.
1c The most important theoretical traditions in sociology and content of important theories; knowledge of influential empirical findings and understanding of their relevance.
1d Analyse social issues and ‘convert’ them into sociological issues, and categorise these sub-issues under overarching sociological issues.
1e Derive hypotheses from existing sociological theories which offer an answer to the questions formulated or devise new theories which can provide an answer.
1f Make judgements about the urgency of a social issue; determine whether a sociological issue is well formulated (for instance in relation to the social issue).
1g Determine how strong a suggested solution/theory is in the light of logical consistency and/or empirical findings.
3a Know the course of policy processes, the social significance of policy interventions and their implications.
3b Ways in which theoretical knowledge can be used to propose policy interventions and the manner in which implemented policies can be explained and evaluated.
3c Assess the feasibility of proposed solutions and evaluate existing policy in relation to the often conflicting visions of stakeholders.
3d Assess the efficacy of proposed or implemented policy.
4a Possess general professional and academic proficiency in both Dutch and English.
4b Reading texts: understanding and interpretation; differentiate between main and side issues.
4c Ability to report in writing at the level of a starting academic professional in such a way that a general audience can understand the importance of what is written.
4d Ability to present orally as well as debate, clearly formulate ideas and produce satisfactory reports.
4e Ability to work and plan work independently.
4f Ability to participate actively in group discussions, provide constructive criticism and cooperate in small groups.
4g Ability to look up and select relevant information in the library and on the internet, and to utilise ICT facilities.
5a Be aware of the content of the Dutch Sociological Association's (Nederlandse Sociologische Vereniging) code of conduct.
5b Ability to apply this code of conduct in specific research situations.
5c Ability to reflect on ethical aspects of sociological research and how to deal with them.