Ideal experimental design conditions rarely exist in public policy evaluation. It is not uncommon for evaluators to be faced with a situation where a collection of programmes is being implemented in pursuance of a public policy, couched in nebulous terms, which is more politically defensible than pragmatic. The individual programmes, which collectively equate to 'the policy', may have had staggered starting times with no baseline measurements and only a tenuous sense of the causal link between policy activities and impact. This paper describes a policy evaluation in such a scenario. Concept mapping (multidimensional scaling and hierarchical clustering) is used as an evaluation technique to assess community relations programmes in Northern Ireland. From this a taxonomy of policy responses is devised and some conclusions drawn on the usefulness of concept mapping as an evaluation technique.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science