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Introducing Programme Theory - week 4 and 5

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Kevin Harris

on 18 October 2017

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Transcript of Introducing Programme Theory - week 4 and 5

Introducing Programme Theory (Realistic angle)
Up to today.....
This unit is about Sport for Social Change
We have conceptualised the Social Coach
We should now understand what a Coaching and Development programme is


Key aim for today is for you to walk away with an understanding of what programme theory is... so you can start to build your own and examine others.
Programme Theory as 'Programme Development'
The theory about what a program or intervention is expected to do and how it is expected to work
OUTCOME - How do we get here?

IF we do this THEN this will happen, and this is HOW and WHY this will happen

There may be a number of theories in our programmes (There often are in Sport for Development)

So what is it about a programme that will bring about changes?

Why Programme Theory?
Sport for social change programmes attempt to change things


Social systems are open systems: different levels, structures, objects and events interact. So: there will be many causes of any event and any event may have many consequences.

The social world is real: social structures have real impacts and consequences (real ‘causal powers’)

“We” and “the real world” interact. The real world shapes our cognitive and social structures. Our understandings shape our actions which in turn shape the world.

One task of social inquiry is to seek to understand the
(‘cause’) the events we experience. These can operate at a number of different levels (individual psyche, relationships between individuals, organisational structures, political systems, etc), but they cannot usually be directly observed.

The Problem for us
Social programs are an attempt to address (correct, prevent) a problem or problems
How do you define the problem that you want your program to address?
What ‘symptoms’
Which students / families / staff / levels of system
What creates or sustains it? How?

Programme Mechanisms
Mechanisms are “how” programs work (not ‘what we do’)
Programs enable participants to make different decisions by changing reasoning and/or resources
Reasoning: (eg) beliefs, attitudes, values, ‘logic in use’
Resources: (eg) equipment, skill, money, social support…
Mechanism = a description of the way in which different ‘reasoning’ interacts with new resources to give changed decisions (which result in different behaviours, which result in different outcomes)
The same program can trigger different mechanisms for different participants.

Examples of mechs
How might physical literacy combined with subject areas have a positive effect?

develop YP’s knowledge, skills and confidence to realize their potential for the first time (I can do my times tables!)
Accademic potential
: a launch pad on which to develop and progress knowledge
Social acceptability
: promote social ways of behaving that allow the pupil to be accepted as not being stupid
Physical change
: develop new physical movements and competence in technique

Applying Realist Philosophy to Sport for Social Change Programmes
Social programs try to create social change: by introducing new mechanisms, or disabling old ones, in particular contexts.
Context + Mechanism = Outcome

Programs ‘work’ by enabling stakeholders to make different choices (although choice-making is always constrained by people’s experiences, beliefs and attitudes, and opportunities).
Programs ‘work’ in different ways for different people (that is, programs can trigger different change mechanisms for different participants). Nothing works for everyone!

Because programs work differently in different contexts and through different change mechanisms, programs cannot simply be replicated from one context to another and automatically achieve the same outcomes.
Good understandings about ‘what works for whom, in what contexts, and how’ are, however, portable.

Mechanism Questions
Planning questions:
Who do we want to make different decisions?
What ‘reasoning’ do we want to change?
What ‘resources’ will our program provide?
What different mechanisms do we think our program will trigger, for which sets / sub-sets of participants?
How will that change the outcomes we see?
What data should we collect to check our theory?

The contexts in which programs operate make a difference to the outcomes they achieve. Program contexts include (eg)
organizational context,
program participants,
program staffing,
geographical and historical context… (etc)
Context influences whether mechanisms can fire / which mechanisms fire

Elements of context for prison sport education programs
Disadvantaged populations – prisoners who have not previously accessed education
Offence type – ‘sex-related crimes may describe contexts which generic education cannot reach’
Offender type – ‘confrontationalists, symbiotic types, prison thieves, private sinners and situational criminals’
Nature of prison – for young offenders, low security, high security, protective custody
Nature of sentence – long stay, short stay…

Context Questions
Planning Questions
For whom, and ‘not for whom’, do we expect this program to ‘work’? Why?
What needs to be in place in the context for the mechanisms to ‘fire’?
What, in the context, might STOP the program from working?
What data should we collect to check our theory?

Realistic Approach (Pawson and Tilley, 1997)
Not “Does this work?”, but “For whom might this work, in what contexts, in what respects and how?”

Context +
Features of participants, organisation, staffing, history, culture, beliefs (etc) required to ‘fire’ the mechanism

Mechanism =
The way in which new resources interact with different ‘reasoning’ to give changed decisions / choices

Different behaviour  different short term outcomes  different medium term outcomes  …

Progress made in understanding the realistic approach to programme theory?

By now you should be able to see the relevance of programme theory as the beginning for any social change prog

The importance of understanding change mechs

Next week, we begin to look at ways to capture and illustrate prog theories
Our Programme theories will have:
Implementational theories of action
These are the processes
The sessions , the resources, the outputs , the facilities , activities
Theories of change....

For next week (week 5)
Full transcript