Glories and triumphs shrunk

The ‘results agenda’ – in its various manifestations – continues to gain momentum. ‘Results agenda’ is an umbrella term that means different things in different contexts but I think it’s fair to say there’s a common basic idea. It’s about gathering robust evidence about results and then focusing on ‘what works’. So far, so good you might say. In theory at least, it’s hard to see why anyone could object to that. But this deceptively simple concept gets a bit more problematic when applied to real situations. And that’s why critiques are burgeoning –...

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Evaluator says evaluation is a waste of time, never works again

The history of our knowledge about, and understanding of, the world can be summarised (amongst other ways) as follows: Speculation. Plausibility. Certainty. Uncertainty. Unknowability. Aristotle suggested that stones fall to earth because they are trying to get back to their home. Fire travels upwards because it lives in the heavens. He invented logic and was a major catalyst for the Renaissance so we can forgive him these misreadings. The point anyway is that he was speculating. A few centuries later, Francis Bacon stuffed a chicken with snow and experimental science was born. Processes of...

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