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Qualitative comparative analysis follow-up evaluation of Defra's Flood Resilience Community Pathfinder projects (CECAN Fellowship) - FD2703

Description
The proposal is for Defra to provide match funding to a fellowship to be held by Clare Twigger-Ross for the Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN). The key evaluation challenge focussed on in this case will study the attribution of causality to an intervention in the context of community resilience to flooding.. This builds on the existing evaluation of the Flood Resilience Community Pathfinder scheme (Defra 2013 – 2015) which consisted of 13 projects across England aimed at improving community resilience to flooding. The community resilience framework used is largely descriptive making the attribution of causality challenging, specifically because within the time for the original evaluation was too short for the realization of key impacts and their indicators. This meant the focus was largely on outputs and shorter term outcomes. By applying QCA to the existing data the aim is to extract the key factors that predict improved community resilience across the 13 different projects. To validate the predictions we will return to the projects themselves in order to see how far and in what ways community resilience has improved. A key methodological development will be testing QCA in a novel (flooding) complex evaluation situation to examine its feasibility for similar situations and to evaluate what aspects of QCA are most useful in relation to this type of evaluation. This fellowship will build capacity within Defra in relation to QCA with in kind contribution from Stacy Sharman (Head of Research, Floods and Water Evidence Team/Principal Research Officer)).
The case study presents a number of complexity issues, which it will be important to see if QCA can aid in navigating:
1) Multiple projects with wide range of stakeholders and interests within one programme
2) Multiple components / elements included in the policy initiative
3) Many stakeholders and beneficiaries and complex governance structure
4) Flooding is a key nexus issue with its management needing a focus on the interconnectedness of social and physical systems

The fellowship will contribute to and impact the work of the Centre and its stakeholders by:

Applying QCA to an existing evaluation to elaborate its potential applicability and benefit in relation to the evaluation of interventions in nexus issues, specifically flooding;

Facilitating capacity building in QCA within Defra. Defra have offered in kind support with data collection and analysis in return for developing some Defra in-house capacity on QCA.

Providing evidence on longer term impacts of the FRCP scheme to Defra policy leads and increase the ability to attribute causality in the context of community resilience to flooding. This should improve the impact of the evaluation and feed into future similar interventions

Widening the reach of CECAN by engaging with a project board of policy, practice and NGO stakeholders through the fellowship

Designing and delivering a seminar on the findings and applicability of QCA in evaluation jointly with Defra to CECAN and Defra staff

Disseminating findings through policy and practice note for CECAN on the findings and wider applications of QCA

In addition, Clare will input to the wider CECAN work through engagement with workshops, contributing to briefing papers and academic articles and sharing her practical experience of evaluation of Nexus issue with the Centre

Objective
Fellowship aims
To apply QCA to an existing evaluation to elaborate its potential applicability and benefit in relation to the evaluation of interventions in nexus issues, specifically flooding.

To provide evidence on longer term impacts of the FRCP scheme to Defra policy leads and increase the ability to attribute causality in the context of community resilience to flooding.

To provide greater insight into which interventions to improve community resilience to flooding work under what configuration of resilience/community/engagement factors.

To provide a practical example of QCA in use on a nexus issue to enable learning and capacity building within CECAN and its stakeholders
.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2016

To: 2018

Cost: £5,450
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Collingwood Environmental Planning
Keywords
Flood Management              
Fields of Study
Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management