Session Description: In an environment of increasing social participation and transparency, communities of practice are one means to unite a variety of partners to address common issues, share resources, and learn new information. When asked to design an evaluation of this type of complex social initiative, evaluators increasingly turn to system level evaluation. One means to frame a system level evaluation is the use of social and behavioral science theory. Both implicit and explicit use of theory will be covered, including theory of change as an explicit approach that links activities, outcomes, and contexts in a way that maximizes the attribution of interventions to outcomes. This workshop will use lecture, exercises and discussion to improve attendees’ ability to understand the application of a systems level evaluation to communities of practice as well as how to design evaluations of such complex social initiatives.
Andrea M. Hegedus, is a Health Research Analyst for Northrop Grumman Corporation. She has over 25 years of experience including evaluation of behavioral healthcare programs and other complex social initiatives. Jan C. Jernigan, is a Senior Evaluator in the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at CDC. She has taught program evaluation courses and conducted program evaluation and evaluation research for over 15 years. Drs. Hegedus and Jernigan both received their doctorates from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh with a specialty in public policy research and analysis.