An evaluation approach to environmental program and project planning
This paper presents the incorporation of realistic practice into the formulation of evaluation methodology in environmental planning. The approach is based on the principles of realistic evaluation. The latter, founded on scientific realist philosophy, offers a complete blueprint for evaluation activities and proposes realistic development in policy making. Combining theory and method, as well as qualitative and quantitative procedures, realistic evaluation focuses on testing theories of how outcomes are generated by specific mechanisms, fired and activated in particular contexts. Its commitment to the belief that evaluation research depends on the investigation of causal explanation underlines the fact that environmental interventions are closely connected with and affect social world. In this way the social dimension in environmental interventions is enhanced and a more sophisticated perspective is introduced in the evaluation process. Realistic evaluation offers to environmental planning and development an actual practice into the conduct of evaluation. © 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers.