Realistically evaluating Small Scale SFD Programmes Professionalisation and Praxis

  • Kev Harris

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Within the last decade a lack of evidence discourse (Nichols et al, 2010) has emerged raising issues around limited Monitoring and Evaluation (M and E) practice and capacity of Sport For Development (SFD) programmes to elicit change. Critics (Coalter, 2013; Harris and Adams, 2016) have argued that a deeper understanding of what works for whom and why (Pawson and Tilley, 1997) is required when evaluating SFD interventions. This thesis explored practitioner involvement in M and E, and drew upon a realist participatory M and E framework (delivered in two phases), developed to train student sport development practitioners (SSDPs) to make sense of how and why their SFD interventions worked. The framework was evaluated at each phase, utilizing Realist Evaluation (RE) to ascertain if, how, and why the framework worked for SSDPs. The evaluation at phase one (involving interviews, blogs, and questionnaires) led to a series of context mechanism and outcome (CMO) configurations explaining how and why the framework worked for SSDPs. This led to refinements of the framework at phase two embedding Schula et al.'s (2016) collaborative principles of evaluation. Evaluation of phase two embedded Q factor analysis (Watts and Stenner, 2012), interviews and reflective blogs. Findings emerged surrounding the value of RE for SSDPs. Schula et al.'s (2016) principles enabled practical and transformational characteristics to unfold for SSDPs within the framework. Four sub groups of practitioners emerged depicting how the framework worked. These sub groups were made up of "travelling far in M and E competency", "polished problem solvers", "passive passengers", and "proficient yet sceptical practitioners". These were underpinned by holistic narratives demonstrating subjective views about the framework. A new compilation of CMO configurations informing refinements to the framework followed. In conclusion, participatory approaches of M and E can work with practitioners and should be embedded to enable application of RE.
    Date of AwardAug 2016
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Nottingham Trent University

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