On June 18, 2015 DME for Peace had the opportunity to host Dr. Bruce Hemmer, Lead Evaluation Officer in the Department of Learning and Training in the Bureau of Conflict Stabilization Operations in the US State Department, who discussed process tracing and detailed theories of change.
Evaluating conflict interventions, or other types of programming in conflict environments, is difficult due to the fluidity, danger, urgency, scale of desired strategic impact and murky multi-causality in these complex situations. Each of these qualities can interfere with using experimental or quasi-experimental designs, though they are sometimes still feasible. An alternative method of assessing causal influence is process tracing, which is more flexible. This presentation will discuss this approach, and its reliance on detailed elaboration of theories of change. This is a method that has most commonly been used so far at the U.S. State Department Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, though increased use of quasi-experimental designs is anticipated where feasible.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Bruce Hemmer is a Lead Evaluation Officer in the Office of Learning and Training of the Bureau for Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) at the US Department of State. He has worked for this bureau or its predecessor, the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, since May 2010. He advises CSO engagement teams and other U.S. government entities on methods for conflict assessment and program monitoring, theories of change development, and applying insights from academic and best practices research. He also plans and manages or conducts independent evaluations of conflict interventions. His work for the State Department has addressed conflict prevention, mitigation and transformation in places as varied as Ukraine, Syria, Nigeria, Burma, Bangladesh, Kenya, Uzbekistan, Honduras, Belize, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Ecuador, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Central African Republic. Bruce completed his PhD in Political Science at the University of California, Irvine in 2009, specializing in the civic and cultural aspects of democratization and peacebuilding and conducting field research in Bosnia and Northern Ireland. He previously earned a MA in International Relations at Syracuse University and a Certificate of Achievement in Conflict Resolution at its Program on the Analysis and Resolution of Conflicts (PARC). Bruce has several years of prior practical experience in peacebuilding and democratization, principally in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he worked with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). He has also worked with several peacebuilding NGOs in Bosnia, Kosovo and Ethiopia, including the Carter Center, and is a trained mediator.
Additional Resources: Click here for resources offered by the CSO. (link is external)