The Troubled Families Programme: Learning about policy impact through realist case study research

PARR, Sadie and CHURCHILL, Harriet (2019). The Troubled Families Programme: Learning about policy impact through realist case study research. Social Policy and Administration.

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This article aims to critically explore how qualitative case study research that is founded on realist principles can fundamentally enhance social policy evaluation methodologies and, in turn, provide improved learning for policy makers and practitioners. We suggest these methodological advantages are accrued through the careful construction of theory-based explanations of 'how' policy programmes work thereby addressing the limitations of quasi-experimental methods - namely a focus on and prioritisation of outcome measures. The paper situates this key argument within wider, long-standing debates about evidence-based policy-making and what constitutes 'evidence' of impact in social policy. It does so through reflection on the contentious and contradictory knowledge claims that surround the Troubled Families Programme and evaluative claims regarding its efficacy. In conclusion and looking forward, we suggest that there remains much scope to combine 'intensive' qualitative case studies with 'extensive' quantitative measures within local and national evaluations of complex, multi-dimensional social policies, such as the Troubled Families Programme.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1605 Policy and Administration; 1606 Political Science; 1608 Sociology; Political Science & Public Administration
Identification Number:
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 29 May 2019 11:59
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2021 01:18

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