The Politics of Poverty and Policy Evaluation
September 2014-September 2017
The PhD aims to develop a new framework for democratic evaluation of anti-poverty projects, responding to the problematisation of dominant evaluation approaches in the UK, identified as:
- An exclusive focus on the implementation of a specific policy and neglect of the way the policy issue has been originally defined, which can often follow the stigmatising structures and neglect of structural contexts that are consistent with the politics of poverty;
- Neglect of multiple forms of expertise and types of knowledge, failing to build on the advantage of a genuinely mixed methods approach that includes the everyday experiences of people who have lived experience of poverty; and
- Bureaucratic evaluations that focus exclusively on assessing ‘what works’ and do not seek to actively promote social justice.
Through the research programme, different methods will be tested that can ultimately be built into the evaluation process to develop a more democratic approach that includes critique of existing injustices; documenting the impacts of alternative social projects; and drawing on the evaluation to inform a transformative political economy. This will also involve the development and testing of innovative approaches to communication to generate public debate from evaluation results. This will be done through the following case studies:
- Use of photography and storytelling with ‘everyday people’ on daily struggles and support
- Questionnaires with people who use foodbanks and application of qualitative comparative analysis to reveal context
- Socio-biographical interviews on social support over a life history with people who have used foodbanks, drawing on themes from embedded evaluation process
- Ethnographic film with mothers from an area of low-income as an evaluation of ‘Mums’ Mart’ project
- Developing an evaluation framework for Save the Children’s Eat, Sleep, Play programme
Dan has worked for several voluntary and community sector organisations as well with a local authority, with the aim of promoting equality and participation in policy development at local, regional and national levels. He has considerable experience in engaging with marginalised communities, delivering social research and evaluation projects and also in terms of connecting with policy-makers. Dan is the co-director of the Social Action & Research Foundation
- A Tale of Two Cities: This explores and evaluates responses to the challenges faced by the communities of Manchester and Salford made evident by the riots.
- White Working Class Communities in Manchester : This explores the experiences and concerns of segments of the majority population in Higher Blackley, a ward in the north of Manchester.
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