I am thinking of getting together a panel presentation on this topic for The European Evaluation Society conference in Greece 1-5 October 2018: http://www.ees2018.eu/abstract-submission-guidelines.htm. Something like this:
Visualisation of Theories of Change
This panel is at the intersection of two trending topics in evaluation.
Data visualisation: evaluators have to present their results in an accessible way, and good visuals can complement a narrative and provide new insights.
Theories of Change, whether presented as visuals or text, are central to many modern understandings of evaluation and its tasks.
But what happens at their intersection? How do we, should we, visualise Theories of Change?
- Can we apply what we have learned from visualising data to visualising theories?
- How do informal approaches to sketching/visualising the processes and results of participatory workshops fit into this picture?
- If graphical Theories of Change don’t (primarily) visualise data, what do they represent? Causal networks (Pearl, J. (2000). Causality: Models, reasoning and inference. Cambridge Univ Press.)?
- Could visualisations of causal connections be useful to evaluators apart from presenting formal, complete Theories of Change?
- Is there a role for a common visual language or alphabet in the visualisation of data? What about in the visualisation of Theories of Change? Could there be a common language across both? What would be the benefits and drawbacks?
- How can adaptive mechanisms be represented graphically?
- How can we deal with interactive, dynamic Theories of Change which allow desk-based experiments that let us see the consequences of different variations in the design of theories of change?
This panel welcomes both practical presentations of tips and case studies as well as more theoretical papers.