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SOCI8020 – Evaluating Social Policy

2020 – Session 1, Infrequent attendance, North Ryde

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, any references to assessment tasks and on-campus delivery may no longer be up-to-date on this page.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts on staff and students

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff
Adam Stebbing
Charlotte Overgaard
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to MPSP or MPASR or GradCertPASR or GradDipPASR.
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

Evaluation is among the most common, and possibly most useful, forms of applied social research. It involves using research methodologies to systematically assess a policy or program to set criteria. This unit surveys key topics and practice-based skills widely used in evaluation research that have potential applications in the public, non-profit, and for-profit private sectors. As this field of research is expansive, the unit primarily draws on case studies from social policy - public interventions that offer protection from social ills and are among those that impact most on everyday life - to provide focus for class sessions and assessments. The unit proceeds in four modules. The first module provides context by engaging with key understandings of social policies and programs. The second module introduces key evaluation tools and skills for understanding programs and focusing research. The third module focuses on issues in designing and carrying out evaluations, from small-scale projects to those analysing 'big data'. And, the fourth module discusses the politics of evaluation and evidence in policy making to draw out key political and ethical questions. Across these four modules, students will gain a clear understanding of key elements of evaluation research design, as well as the potential uses and misuses of this form of applied social policy research.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: demonstrate specialised knowledge of evaluation design and approaches
  • ULO2: create technical models of a social project, program or policy that visually presents its organising logic
  • ULO3: critically analyse evidence from evaluations of social policy and public policy
  • ULO4: research and apply evaluation tools and approaches to assess social and public policy
  • ULO5: communicate knowledge, skills and ideas about evaluation research to specialist and non-specialist audiences

Assessment Tasks

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Assessment details are no longer provided here as a result of changes due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts on staff and students

General Assessment Information

Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity is an intergral part of the core values and principles contained in the Macquarie University Ethics Statement. Its fundamental principle is that all staff and students act with integrity in the creation, development, application and use of ideas and information. This means that:

  • All academic work claimed as original is the work of the author making the claim
  • All academic collaborations are acknowledged
  • Academic work is not falsified in any way
  • When the ideas of others are used, these ideas are acknowledged appropriately
  • Self-plagiarism (resubmitting your own work - including past assignments for this or other units - without attribution) is an unacceptable academic activity


University Grading Policy

The grade that a student receives will signify their overall performance in meeting the learning outcomes of the unit of study. Graded units will use the following grades

HD    High Distinction        85-100

D      Distinction                 75-84

Cr     Credit                        65-74

P      Pass                          50-64

F      Fail                              0-49

Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University.


Return of Marked Work

As per university policy, written assessments will be returned to students within three weeks of the submission date. Early assignments will not be marked early.


Special Consideration (Extensions)

The University recognises that students may experience events or conditions that adversely affect their academic performance. If you experience serious and unavoidable difficulties at exam time or when assessment tasks are due, you can consider applying for Special Consideration.

You need to show that the circumstances:

  1. were serious, unexpected and unavoidable
  2. were beyond your control
  3. caused substantial disruption to your academic work
  4. substantially interfered with your otherwise satisfactory fulfilment of the unit requirements
  5. lasted at least three consecutive days or a total of 5 days within the teaching period and prevented completion of an assessment task scheduled for a specific date.

More information about Special Consideration is available in the Policies and Procedures section of the unit guide.


Late Penalties

Unless a Special Consideration request has been submitted and approved, (a) a penalty for lateness will apply – two (2) marks out of 100 will be deducted per day for assignments submitted after the due date – and (b) no assignment will be accepted more than seven (7) days (incl. weekends) after the original submission deadline. No late submissions will be accepted for timed assessments – e.g. quizzes, online tests.


Campus Wellbeing

Macquarie University offers a range of wellbeing services (including [but not limited to]: health, welfare, counselling, disability and student advocacy services) that are available to you at any time during your studies. Campus Wellbeing is here to support you and help you succeed, both academically and personally. More information is available in the Policies and Procedures section of the unit guide..

Delivery and Resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19.

Please check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status


This course is delivered via the 'infrequent attendance'. It includes online lectures and unit materials, as well as three day-length on-campus sessions. More information is in the Unit Schedule section of the unit guide.

Required and recommended resources

There is no required textbook for SOCI8020. Required readings are online available via Leganto (see below).

Technology used

The following technologies are used in this course...


Make sure that you regularly check your student email for correspondence with teaching staff and course announcements.


Important information about the weekly schedule, course readings and assessment are all available on the course iLearn page. If you do not have access, please contact IT help. You are required to check iLearn and your student email regularly for course updates and information.


All written assessments need to be submitted online via Turnitin only. A link to Turnitin is available via the Assessments tab on the iLearn page. Please contact the convenor if you cannot find it (do not leave it until the day of the assessment). There is no need to submit a hard copy of the assessment or to include a cover sheet.


Feedback will be made available online via GradeMark. It will take four forms (in no particular order): specific comments in the text of your paper; overall comments; a score on a qualitative rubric (that cannot be used to calculate your mark numerically); and a numeric score. Once you have received your assignment back, please make sure that you have access to these forms of feedback. 


Leganto is the electronic system for accessing unit readings that can be accessed via the iLearn page. Readings are allocated via topic. As well as the required readings for each topic, you will find recommended and optional readings. The required readings are available in pdf or electronic format. If you are not able to access the readings, please contact the unit convenor via email.


Unit Schedule

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The unit schedule/topics and any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19. Please consult iLearn for latest details, and check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

SOCI8020 Evaluating Social Policy is delivered via 'infrequent attendance' mode, which involves online learning and three on-campus sessions. It has 13 topics that are structured into four modules, as the table shows.

  Module Topic #     Topic title
  Module 1. Foundations of Social Policy         1     Introducing 'Evaluating Social Policy' 
        2     Defining Social Policy
        3     Understanding the Welfare State
  Module 2. Evaluative Tools & Frameworks          4     Theories of Change
        5     Program Logic Models
        6     Evaluating Social Policy
  Module 3. Designing Evaluations         7     Measuring Impact
        8     Co-designing Evaluation
        9     Working with Existing Data
       10     Do-It-Yourself Evaluation
  Module 4. The Politics of Evaluation & Evidence         11     Why Use 'Mixed Methods'?
       12     Using and Misusing CBA & SRI 
       13     Evidence-Based or Evidence Informed Policy?

There are online lectures and activities for each of the 13 topics, which are intended to mirror the 13 week semester. Topics 1 and 13 are 'fully online'. There are three day-length (9am to 4pm) on-campus sessions for the unit: 

     Session 1 on 28th March will cover Topics 2 to 5

     Session 2 on 2nd May will cover Topics 6 to 9

     Session 3 on 23rd May will cover Topics 10 to 12

Please see the SOCI8020 iLearn page for more information.

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central). Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/getting-started/student-conduct​


Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au or if you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to help you improve your marks and take control of your study.

The Library provides online and face to face support to help you find and use relevant information resources. 

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

If you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Changes since First Published

Date Description
23/02/2020 Weekly topics updated.
11/02/2020 Nothing has changed.
03/02/2020 I noticed that the reference to no textbook included the incorrect unit code. Other than that, the unit guide is identical.