Module code: SOCM054

Module provider


Module Leader

MCGUIRE MR Dr (Sociology)

Number of Credits


ECT Credits



FHEQ Level 7

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 2

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 130

Seminar Hours: 20

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework 2000 WORD ESSAY 50

Alternative Assessment


Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module overview

This module brings together the theoretical and methodological aspects of evaluation research, and applies them to salient policy concerns. Students will be asked to critically engage with the ways in which governments and organisations evaluate important issues in key policy areas and to decide how far evaluation research and other kinds of evidence inform policy responses.

Module aims

Introduce the basic principles of evaluation research

Explore some of the theoretical, practical and technical issues associated with designing and implementing quantitative and qualitative evaluation strategies

Consider the significance of evidence based research in shaping practice and policy

Understand how evaluation research can contribute to evidence based approaches

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
Understand the basic methodological principles underpinning evaluation research C
Use social research methods and methodologies to address evaluation questions CP
Understand the significance of evidence as a tool for policy development C
Appreciate the theoretical, methodological, technical and practical problems encountered when evaluating policies and programmes P
Apply evaluation and other social scientific methodologies to developing evidence bases in relation to policies and programmes T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

Indicative content includes:

types of evaluation: process/formative and impact/summative
evaluation research designs: quantitative and qualitative approaches; randomised control trials; experimental and quasi-experimental designs; comparative research designs
measuring inputs, outputs and outcomes
the nature of evidence and evidence based policy
the nature of evidence bases across policy domains and the contrubution of evaluation research to these

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

 encourage students to think critically about evaluation and evidence based approaches and to identify how evaluation can be used as an evidential tool

The learning and teaching methods include:

Ten 2 hour seminars based around lectures, group work and open discussions;
Students are expected to critically engage with weekly topics and will be asked to contribute to group presentations towards the end of the module.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate that they have (a) understood the basic principles behind evaluation research and evidence based approaches and (b) that they can apply this knowledge to the formulation of research and policy agendas that are evidence driven

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

one 2000 word written essay testing understanding of the principles behind evaluation research and how it is best implemented;
one 2000 word critique of an evaluation research report which will test students capacity to critically engage with examples of evaluation research and to test how far this can be used to inform policy

Formative assessment and feedback

Students will be asked to work in small groups in most sessions and then present and discuss ideas based on the topics covered for that week. Formal verbal feedback will be given at the end of the session.

Reading list

Reading list for EVALUATION RESEARCH & EVIDENCE BASED POLICY : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/socm054

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Social Research Methods MSc 2 Core Each unit of assessment must be passed at 50% to pass the module
Criminology and Social Research MSc 2 Core Each unit of assessment must be passed at 50% to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.