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Capacity Building in Impact Evaluation: Counterfactual and Theory Based Approaches, Barcelona

Magische Fontein van Montjuïc in Barcelona
datum 20 mei 2019
plaats Barcelona, Spanje
organisatie European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA)

This course will enhance your ability to design, manage and monitor the evaluations conducted by your organisation, irrespective of whether they are supported by EU funds.

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SKU: 1960601 Categories: EU Decision-making, EU Governance, EU Structural Funds, European Public Management, Improvement Tools

Registration for this course is closed. Take a look at our latest course: Capacity Building in Impact Evaluation: Counterfactual and Theory-Based Approaches

Does your organisation have qualified experts who are willing and able to properly manage evaluation activities?

How can you ensure high-quality evaluations?

Will evaluation results really provide the evidence required for decision-making, and help to improve policies and programmes?

This course will answer all the above questions, and specifically, will enhance your ability to design, manage and monitor the evaluations conducted by your organisation, irrespective of whether they are supported by EU funds.

What you will learn in this course:

  • The two most prominent approaches to the current evaluation system: Counterfactual (also known as experimental or quasi-experimental) and theory-based
  • What counterfactual approaches can and cannot do and the conditions in which they can be used
  • How theory-based approaches can provide a good alternative when such conditions are not met and discuss ways in which the two approaches can be combined

By the end of the course, you will:

  • Evaluate the pros and cons of different evaluation tools, and select the ones that are most relevant
  • Commission and manage evaluations and ensure better dissemination of the results
  • Design briefs for both internal and external evaluators, interact with them smoothly, and do an efficient assessment of their work quality
  • Integrate evaluation better into the policy and programming cycle so that it is actually used

Who is this course for:

  • Public officials from EU Member States, candidate countries, EU institutions and Agencies Managing authorities
  • Auditors, consultants, staff of NGOs, and other stakeholders involved in the management of evaluation procedures for policies, programmes, and projects
  • Professionals working with European Funds

After-course support

You will get the slides as well as additional learning material to apply the new knowledge in your work.

Course methodology and highlights

The course will be led by experts who have decades of both research and practical experience in evaluation in an EU context.

There is no previous knowledge/experience required to attend this seminar, but if you do have some prior understanding, it could definitely help you get the maximum benefits out of this course.


MONDAY 20 MAY 2019



Registration of participants



Introduction to the seminar: presentation of the methodology to be followed

‘Tour de table’ - participants and experts present themselves. Needs assessment of the audience - evaluation on knowledge level

Gracia Vara Arribas, Expert, Project Leader, EIPA Barcelona (ES)

  • I. 
    What is an evaluation and how to manage it

Gracia Vara Arribas



Strengthening the impact evaluation culture in the European Union - the lessons from the European Commission

The European Commission has institutionalized the evaluation culture, mainstreaming the different aspects of it - learn from the Commission experience the do’s and don’ts for your own organization



Coffee Break


II. Introduction to theory-based evaluation approaches and how to use them in practice

Bradford Rohmer, Senior Analyst, Oxford Research



Different evaluation approaches and their practical use

All evaluations should be systematic, objective and evidence-based. But in other respects they differ depending on the issues and problems at hand. This session gives an overview of different evaluation approaches, their key features and how and why to use them. The discussion revolves around real-life examples to show the strengths and weaknesses of various evaluation approaches and ways to design and apply them in practice.



Lunch Break



Theory-based evaluation: What is it, how does it work, and how can it be used to evaluate impact?

Theory-based evaluation (TBE) is versatile but is only useful insomuch as it is tailored to the intervention in question. This session runs through the different approaches to TBE (e.g. realist evaluation, contribution analysis, qualitative comparative analysis), the circumstances they are suited to and tools used to employ them. Again, the focus is on practical examples that participants can apply as commissioners or practitioners of evaluations.



Practical Session 1: a practical example of a theory-based evaluation



End of the first day



Welcome dinner




III. Introduction to counterfactual evaluation approaches and how to use them in practice

Stephen Morris, Professor of Evaluation, PERU, Manchester Metropolitan University



Counterfactual approaches to causation

Early on in the process of designing an evaluation you will need to consider how a counterfactual will be identified and estimated. This session will show you that once having identified a potential counterfactual you will then need to consider how you will measure counterfactual outcomes and possible collect control data from them. This will set ground for the next session of the programme.



Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) as a way of identifying counterfactuals

A randomised controlled trial is an evaluation methodology which aims to draw an objective picture of the difference that a project, programme or policy makes by comparing its effect on separate groups. There is a real need to gain a clearer understanding of who requests and uses RCTs, and this session will provide that knowledge.



Coffee Break



Practical Session 2: designing an experiment

Participants design an experiment and solve problems from a Commissioner´s perspective.






Quasi-experimental approaches

Overview of quasi-experimental methods and techniques to quantitatively evaluate the impact of an intervention. Using ample examples, the approaches covered include regression, difference-in-differences and matching. ITS and regression discontinuity will also be discussed.



Practical Session 3: using quasi-experimental approaches

Participants discuss the practical application of quasi-experimental approaches, also in cases where randomisation is not possible.



Wrapping up and closing of the seminar

Course venue (to be confirmed)

Gran Hotel Havana ****

Gran Vía Corts Catalanes, 647

08010 Barcelona

Tel: +34-93417000


Programme Organiser

Mr Raymond Pelzer

Tel: +34 93 245 12 01



The fee includes documentation, two lunches, one dinner and coffee breaks. After the event, a certificate of participation will be handed out and participants will be given access to the digital version of the event documents. Accommodation and travel costs are at the expense of the participants or their administration.


EIPA offers a 10% discount to all civil servants working for one of EIPA’s supporting countries, and civil servants working for an EU institution, body or agency.

Who are the supporting countries?

Civil servants coming from the following EIPA supporting countries are entitled to get the reduced fee: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

For all other participants, the regular fee applies.


Lunch(es) will be served at the hotel restaurant and dinner will be held at a restaurant in town. Special dietary requirements (e.g. vegetarian, diabetic) can be indicated once you receive the confirmation of the seminar.

Hotel reservations

EIPA is pleased to make reservations for you at the same hotel where the seminar will take place, and where special rates apply for EIPA participants. Should you wish to make use of this possibility, please contact the organiser of this seminar r.pelzer@eipa.eu.Payment is to be made directly and personally to the hotel upon checking out. Please note that if you register after the deadline, hotel reservations cannot be guaranteed

EIPA Barcelona has made a block booking at the Gran Hotel Havana at the special rates of:

Single room: € 134 + € 1,21 tourist tax

Double room: € 148 + € 2,42 tourist tax.

The prices mentioned include breakfast buffet and 10% VAT.


Confirmation of registration will be forwarded to participants on receipt of the completed online registration form.


Prior payment is a condition for participation.

Cancellation policy

For administrative reasons you will be charged €150 for cancellations received within 15 days before the activity begins. There is no charge for qualified substitute participants.

EIPA reserves the right to cancel the activity up to 2 weeks before the starting date. In that case, registration fees received will be fully reimbursed. EIPA accepts no responsibility for any costs incurred (travel, accommodation, etc.).


European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA)

Het Europees instituut voor bestuurskunde (beter bekend als The European Institute of Public Administration - ofwel EIPA) streeft ernaar om de kennis van ambtenaren die zich met de EU bezighouden te vergroten door het ontwikkelen en organiseren van trainingen. Het instituut wil wetenschappelijke kennis en praktische 'know–how' met elkaar verbinden. EIPA bestaat al meer dan 35 jaar.

Het hoofdkantoor van EIPA is gevestigd in Maastricht en heeft dependances in Luxemburg en Barcelona. Gemiddeld nemen 14.000 nationale en Europese ambtenaren per jaar deel aan de trainingen. Daarnaast biedt EIPA ook consultancy, onderzoek en op maat gemaakte programma’s/trainingen aan. Bij EIPA werken circa 120 hoogopgeleide medewerkers.


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