The 4th event of the Vienna Evaluation Network took place on June 13, 2018 at 3-4.30pm

TOPIC: The Role of Programme Theories in Evaluation

by guest speakers Karin Kohlweg und Lisa Ringhofer

With theory-based evaluation, evaluators are expected to work on the basis of a program theory and verify the different causal links.
But what exactly is a program theory? Is it the same as a mental model, causal map, results chain, Logframe or impact pathway? Can these terms be used interchangeably? And if not, what is the difference? If done well, what are the benefits and ‘added value’ of being so “theory-driven”?
When programs and projects are evaluated, we find that the focus is often placed on the implementation side – which of course is necessary and useful. But what about the “theory“ that should guide the implementation of activities and strategies? How often is this „theory“ questioned? Aren’t programs often based on (implicit) assumptions but not on „proven theories“?

View or download the slides (PDF): Kohlweg_Ringhofer_2018 

Karin Kohlweg and Lisa Ringhofer will reflect on these aspects from a practitioners’ viewpoint and illustrate how program theory can be used for planning, managing, monitoring and evaluation.

Karin Kohlweg
is the founder of pme Kohlweg Consulting, based in Vienna and is currently also the Secretary General of the European Evaluation Society. She is a monitoring and evaluation specialist with more than 15 years of experience in development. She has planned, managed and implemented different types of evaluations, studies, reviews and meta-analysis. Karin is also a lecturer at different universities and a trainer for theory of change, monitoring and evaluation. She holds one Master’s Degree in Social Development Planning and Management from the University of Swansea, UK and one in Cultural and Social Anthropology from the University of Vienna.



Lisa Ringhofer is the co-founder of TripleMinds, a consultancy network based in Vienna that helps development NGOs and social entrepreneurs to increase their social impact in the Global South. She has more than 15 years of experience in development cooperation and research. She holds an M.A. in Development Studies, an MBA and a PhD in Sociology/Social Ecology. Lisa has implemented and evaluated a wide range of development programs and designed, conducted and led evaluations in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French. She has also published papers on various development topics and teaches at different universities.

VEN events generally start with a presentation by the guest speaker. Thereafter, the participants have time to ask questions, discuss the topic, and exchange experiences, followed by informal networking and conversations.

WHEN: 13 June 2018, 3-4.30pm

WHERE: The venue is Berggasse 17, the third-floor conference room of the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research. Please cross the courtyard to find the entrance left in front of you.