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A decision-making model as an assisting tool in designing evaluation strategies for integrated rural development programmes

The study objective is to delineate, apply and revise a decision-making model aimed at helping evaluators plan and carry out effective and meaningful evaluations of multisectoral development projects.
To reach this objective, in the first part of the study a literature review is carried out to categorise existing project evaluation techniques and to identify crucial criteria for evaluation design.
On the basis of the literature review, a first version of the decision-making model for evaluation design is developed. Such a model aims at planning effective and meaningful evaluations with regard to the context, applying an elimination / selection strategy across a set of criteria in a stepwise process. The steps are:
1) Criteria setting;
2) Context analysis within the criteria framework;
3) Selection of the techniques, in order to discard the least suitable techniques and accept the most appropriate methods on the basis of the criteria and of the context;
4) Integration of selected techniques in a structured evaluation design and analysis of the feasibility of the design on the basis of the available resources; if the available resources are not sufficient, some parts of the planned evaluation have to be “pruned”, maintaining the techniques that better respond to the evaluation objectives and the project characteristics.
In order to test it, the model is applied to the Emilia-Romagna Integrated Mediterranean Programme, a multisectoral integrated development programme which was carried out in the Italian Region of Emilia-Romagna and whose goal was to favour endogenous development of the disadvantaged Apennines area. Among others, a measure of the Programme included the evaluation of the Programme itself by an external expert.
The final part of the study compares the theoretical evaluation design, resulting from the application of the model to the Emilia-Romagna Integrated Mediterranean Programme, with the design of the actual Programme evaluation that was carried out.
This comparison shows the strong points of the model:
a) Great attention to the client’s needs and expectations;
b) Application of inside analysis together with outside analysis on the ground of the context examination;
c) Possibility to choose from a reservoir of techniques in order to find the best match between evaluation objectives, project characteristics and evaluation methods;
d) Logical soundness and ease of understanding of the sequence of the aspects to be evaluated: performance-effectiveness-impact-efficiency.
Some weaknesses of the model are also revealed:
a) The effects of project activities on the natural environment receive inadequate attention;
b) The internal and external coherence of the project is not considered as a necessary element to assure project success;
c) No indication is provided on the kind of information that should be obtained and on the characteristics of the evaluation results.
Finally, on the basis of the conclusions drawn from this comparison, the model is reviewed and improved in three areas:
1. The impact on the natural environment;
2. The analysis of synergy;
3. The nature of the information and of the evaluation results.
The model that is obtained is not a definitive scheme to be strictly followed, but rather a framework, a “dynamic” tool for evaluators that can be adapted to different contexts and to evaluation team’s personal experiences. Applications of the model to different programmes and situations should lead to its further development and improvement.

Mostra/Nascondi contenuto.
1. INTRODUCTION The purpose of this study is to delineate, apply and refine a model for decision-making in project evaluation design, which can be applied to any project to obtain a logical and consequent evaluation design. The model will be applied to the Integrated Mediterranean Programme of Emilia-Romagna (Italy) for its validation and review. 1.1. BACKGROUND The concept of rural area in Europe and, in general, in developed countries has evolved in the last fifty years, together with the changes of the society. The role of rural areas shifted from that of a simple reservoir of labour force and resources for urban and industrialised areas to that of a “buffer zone” aimed at the preservation of the ecological balance and the offer of recreation activities for the urban population. Recently, the latter concept was partly abandoned and rural areas were raised to the role of important socio-economic realities that preserve the fundamental cultural values. Therefore, modern approaches consider the rural world as a value in itself and not just as an “appendix” of urban areas (Bianchi and Magnani, 1985). Such change of approach has developed simultaneously with the ever-increasing “pressure” on rural areas in Europe, deriving from the socio-economic evolution of European society. In particular, some tendencies have emerged, which are still being reinforced: 1. European agriculture is quickly restructuring under the pressure of the problems caused by agricultural surpluses and the environmental impact of high-input production systems. The result is a trend, that it is reasonable to assume will continue over the next decade, towards a reduction of agricultural area and production, which, if it is not balanced by an increase in agricultural productivity or a diversification of family income, will lead to the withdrawal from the sector of many farmers, especially in most disadvantaged areas.

Tesi di Dottorato

Dipartimento: Agribusiness, Extension and Rural Development

Autore: Alessandro Zampagna Contatta »

Composta da 276 pagine.

 

Questa tesi ha raggiunto 645 click dal 20/03/2004.

 

Consultata integralmente una volta.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.