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Monday, September 16 • 2:30pm - 3:00pm
Necessary components of a theory of change for system level interventions

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Nerida Rixon (The University of Melbourne)

This presentation discusses research into the necessary components of a theory of change for system level interventions. This research focuses on theories of change at the 'whole of government response' or 'package' level (i.e. programs or initiatives managed by multiple agencies put together, funded and announced as a package), or at the 'system' level (e.g. the mental health system). It is relevant to any institution designing systems level responses.

A conceptual framework will be proposed outlining the necessary components of a theory of change and more broadly good theory. This will enable governments to effectively plan, monitor and evaluate outcomes. Through translating the framework to an analysis grid, a formula is provided to craft and analyse theories of change. Analysis of at least one case study using this analysis grid will be presented.

This presentation draws on research into what makes both good theory and a good program level theory of change, critiquing and translating this research, where appropriate, to the package or system level.

A central assumption in my work is that governments develop theories of change quickly. This research would provide evaluation practitioners, government program managers and policy officers with the 'must haves' for this theory. As organisations transition to outcomes based planning and design, and grapple with complexity a strong system level theory of change is essential.

avatar for Ian Patrick

Ian Patrick

Director, Ian Patrick & Associates
Dr. Ian Patrick has wide experience in the evaluation, design and management of social sector programs. This includes a strong background in design and implementation of M&E systems, conduct of program evaluations, strategic planning, analysis and research, and training and academic... Read More →

avatar for Nerida Rixon

Nerida Rixon

Masters Student (UoM)/Adviser (First Nations Policy - Closing the Gap), The University of Melbourne/Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Nerida is a Master of Evaluation (Research) student at The University of Melbourne. Nerida's research is developing a framework and supporting rubric to analyse and build program theory for policy packages/whole of government reforms. While presenting at the conference as a University... Read More →

Monday September 16, 2019 2:30pm - 3:00pm AEST