Social Impact Assessment as Evaluation Research: Claimants and Claims

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The emerging practice of social impact assessment (SIA) faces a number of difficult methodological and operational questions. One way of addressing them is to look to the experience of the more developed field of evaluation research (ER). The convergences with and extensions of ER by SIA pose the questions addressed by this article. It argues among other things: (1) until the existing problems of essentially ex post ER are more adequately understood and resolved it may be untenable to continue some of the ex ante pretensions current in SIA; (2) because of a larger private sector role and agency mission orientations, SIA may be even more plagued with one-sided research the ER These and other issues are critically examined, and a number of possible responses suggested.

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Evaluation Review

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