Heather Nunns

Doctor of Philosophy
Study Completed: 2017
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
The practice of evaluative reasoning in the Aotearoa New Zealand public sector

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It is important that public policy is evaluated to determine its effectiveness. Currently, there is limited research available on the practice of evaluation in the Aotearoa New Zealand public sector. Ms Nunns examined the proposition that evaluative reasoning (the reasoning process underpinning evaluation) is a lens through which to consider how to improve the quality of evaluation undertaken or commissioned by the public sector. An abductive inquiry approach was used to examine how public sector evaluators understand and practise evaluative reasoning. She found that the application of evaluative reasoning theory is mediated by influences on evaluation practice related to values and norms associated with New Zealand's history, place and cultures. Her findings provide theoretical insights and guidance for practice on how evaluative reasoning can be strengthened in the public sector context.

Associate Professor Robin Peace
Professor Karen Witten

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