A training course "The Development and Evaluation of Social Programs
A training course "The Development and Evaluation of Social Programs" leading by Sebastian Bamberg, professor of Psychology Department, FH Bielefeld University of Applied Science, Germany, took place in the ILSCR on 1-5 October. It was a part of the training programs "Advanced social psychology: theory, methodology, practice" of the International Laboratory for Socio-Cultural Research. Dr Sebastian Bamberg is a specialist with 18 years of experience in the field of social program evaluation.
The course covered various topics: the needs of modern society in the social programs, theoretical approaches to the development of social programs, and the behavior change theories (The Health Belief Model, The Protection Motivation Theory, The Theory of Planned Behaviour, etc.), the basic methodological concepts in quantitative evaluation research, the sensitivity and power of research design. There were presented also the examples of the social programs’ analysis in the fields of social welfare, health and environmental protection.
Evaluation of any social program must follow the general logic: the results of the social program implementation should meet its goals as much as possible. That is why the development of social programs should begin with the statement of the problem and determine the goals to be achieved. The next step is to determine the need for society to address this problem. Next, you need to articulate the desired results to be achieved with the use of social programs and identify those factors which may affect the results. The main step in the construction of the program is to develop strategies to achieve their goals and desired results. Next, you need to assess how the selected strategy will impact on the target group of the social program. The results of social programs can be achieved at different times. By timing the objectives of social programs can be divided into three types: short-term (1-3 years), medium term (4-6 years) and long term (7-10 years). In the latter case, social programs have the most powerful and lasting effect on the community and must be designed with special care.
S. Bamberg demonstrated the importance of a comprehensive theoretical approach to the evaluation of social programs and shared his professional experience of social programs’ evaluation in Germany. He has also shown a lively interest in the emerging practice of estimation of the Russian social programs by social psychologists, and the course devoted to this topic has been currently taught at the master's program of Applied Social Psychology in the Psychology Department of the HSE.