Thursday 19th November 2020, 09:30 – 17:00 GMT, Live Online Training (via Zoom)

Tutor: Dr Barbara Befani, CECAN Research Fellow

CECAN Ltd are pleased to be working with the UK Evaluation Society on their Autumn 2020 Masterclass series for those working in consultancy, NGOs, Government, academia and other evaluation settings

Course Details:

This course covers the theory and practice of diagnostic evaluation and Bayesian Updating. It addresses its epistemological and mathematical basis, its appropriateness and strengths/weaknesses in comparison with other methods, and its application steps.

The method is focused on the empirical testing of propositions, including theories, causal statements and explanations, and its application steps will be addressed in three different modules, each coming with specific group work/exercises:

  1. The formulation of theories/propositions and their implications for empirical testing;
  2. The design of data collection and the ranking of observations in terms of probative value and updating direction;
  3. The estimation of probabilities for use in the Bayes formula and the updating of confidence in the existence of non-existence of the theories/statements.

The course includes presentations and case illustrations with prepared examples as well as more interactive discussion of evaluations participants are familiar with.

Plan of the Day:

09:30 – 11:00  Recap of Theory-Based Evaluation, process Tracing and other methods based on generative causality.  Theoretical Introduction to BU/DE and its application steps.

11:00 – 11:20  Break

11:20 – 12:45  Step One : Developing Testable Theories (with group work)

12:45 – 13:45  Lunch

13:45 – 15:10  Step Two : Designing data collection seeking conclusive tests (with group work)

15:10 – 15:30  Break

15:30 – 17:00  Step Three : Assessing the evidence strength and updating confidence in theory (with group work)

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this session, participants will:

  • Gain a new perspective on Theory-Based Evaluation and what it takes to improve its credibility and reliability
  • Understand the connection between theory development and empirical observations
  • Learn to use the Bayes formula to update confidence in theories and claims
  • Gain understanding of Bayesian Process Tracing

Tutor Biography: 

Dr Barbara Befani, CECAN Research Fellow, has been developing evaluation methods for 15 years. Her interests include 1) evaluation quality; 2) methodological appropriateness and comparative advantages and weaknesses of different evaluation methods; 3) causal inference frameworks for impact evaluation; and 4) specific hybrid, quali-quanti methodologies, like Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and Process Tracing (in particular its Bayesian formalisation, which she is extending to all forms of Theory-Based Evaluation).

Course Fees:

£200 for Non-Members of UK Evaluation Society, £165 for Members, £130 for Student Members

How to Book:

Reserve your place by registering via the UK Evaluation Society website. If you have any questions, please email: