Little pieces of a large puzzle : evaluation use and impact

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Little pieces of a large puzzle : evaluation use and impact

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Publication Conference Paper, other
Title Little pieces of a large puzzle : evaluation use and impact
Author(s) Jakobsson, Erik ; Fred, Mats
Date 2013
English abstract
The implementation of the eight Swedish ERDF programmes involves a large number of projects in which innovative and entrepreneurial environments are developed and regional attractiveness is enhanced. Many projects show good results in terms of new initiatives, new methods and new forms of collaboration between academia, business and public agencies, but also in terms of new businesses and jobs created. The projects, and the regional ERDF programmes funding the projects, are expected to be in line with the revised Lisbon Strategy, the Europe 2020 Strategy and the Swedish national strategy for regional competitiveness, entrepreneurship and employment 2007–2013. It is therefore important to describe and analyze the projects in the Swedish ERDF programmes as little pieces of a large puzzle involving far-reaching ambitions, not least regarding prerequisites for innovation and growth. From this perspective, the impact of ongoing evaluation on strengthening the project’s abilities and efforts to create sustainable change is of great interest. The concept of ongoing evaluation was introduced for the current programming period and around 120 major projects in the Swedish ERDF programmes have made use of it. In the study on which our paper is based, we conducted a systematic review of final evaluation reports from ongoing evaluations at project level in Sweden. The empirical base of the study includes half of the then (late 2011) existing ongoing project evaluations. As a complement to the review of reports, we also conducted seven case studies in order to obtain a deeper understanding of the projects, their ability to achieve long-term effects and the role of the ongoing evaluations. The analysis was carried out by using three mechanisms for sustainable change, namely, active ownership, collaboration and developmental learning. The study has shown that ongoing evaluation is still an immature ’profession’ and the reports reveal varying degrees of quality in the performance of the evaluations. In some cases the efforts of the evaluators have contributed to important improvements in the projects, while in other cases the evaluator’s efforts can be seen as a traditional monitoring of objectives and short-term results. A learning – interactive and supportive – evaluation is important, because many projects struggle with significant problems concerning, e.g. organization, steering and efforts in relation to overall objectives. But the study has also demonstrated that many successful projects do not only exhibit expected quantitative results, but also appear to create sustainable change in line with regional, national and EU strategies. The seven case studies presented in the report illustrate how ongoing evaluation has helped to improve the projects and generate long-term effects.
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Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Evaluation
Program theory
theory driven evaluation
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Note Svensk utvärderingsförenings konferens, Utvärdering i politiken och politiken i utvärderingen, 13-15 november 2013 i Stockholm
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