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Methods & Skills

Evaluation & Impact Analysis

Summary of Strategies at ZSI

The Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI) conducts evaluation projects in several of its thematic priorities and in several policy fields to help customers to check if their instruments, programmes, or institutional arrangements achieve the intended impact. One particular focus is the evaluation of science and innovation policies and programmes. ZSI applies tailor-made evaluation concepts and method-mixes, including different qualitative and quantitative methods. Further methodological approaches applied by ZSI include, among others, scientometric analysis including bibliometrics, SNA, control-group procedures, expert and stakeholder interviews, case studies and grounded theory, different focus group formats, (participatory) observation, qualitative interaction analysis, discourse analysis, participatory procedures, artefact analysis, and other formats of visual sociology based approaches.

The Centre for Social Innovation conducts evaluation projects in several of its thematic priorities, i.e. "work and equal opportunities", "technology and knowledge," and "research policy and development," and in several policy fields, for example STI policy, development cooperation, labour market policy,or sustainable policies. We help our customers to understand if their interventions like instruments, programmes, institutional arrangements, and regulations are well designed and targeted, achieve the intended impact, and provide value for money. One of our particular focus is the evaluation of science and innovation policies and programmes. Drawing on this expertise and through the key involvement of our staff, we are also active in fteval, the Austrian Platform for Research and Technology Policy Evaluation, whose office is hosted by ZSI, and aims to create a sustainable platform for RTI evaluation in Southeastern Europe, which also supports designing and procurement of evaluation studies by providing standards. In several projects, we are also responsible for monitoring the project implementation for progress and impact assessments, for example in several INCO-NET projects.

Tailor-made evaluation concepts
To meet the different requirements of evaluation and monitoring assignments, ZSI applies tailor-made evaluation concepts and method-mixes, including different qualitative and quantitative designs and methods These include the measures of dispersion such as mean value, median, variance, standard deviation, or bivariate descriptive analysis approaches such as contingency tables or correlation coefficient; analysis of variance and different methods of regression analysis, time series analyses, structural equation models, etc. Further methodological approaches applied by ZSI include, among others, scientometric analysis (incl. bibliometrics), SNA, control-group procedures, expert and stakeholder interviews, case studies and grounded theory, different focus group formats, (participatory) observation, qualitative interaction analysis, discourse analysis, participatory procedures, artefact analysis and other formats of visual sociology based approaches, etc.

Wide range of accompanying measures
Usually summative presentation of results will be supplemented by formative-descriptive information in order to accommodate the complexity of the underlying policy processes. In contrast to using only a single method or a single methodological approach, ZSI combines different data collection and evaluation methods (quantitative and/or qualitative methods) – a so-called triangulating research strategy – which enables us to achieve more comprehensive and at the same time more precise results. Moreover, ZSI experts come from different professional backgrounds, are trained in evaluation ethics and are experienced to accompany and support complex policy processes.

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If you are interested in our competences on evaluation or impact analysis, please feel free to get in touch with us.

Contact person: Mag. Dr. Klaus Schuch

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