5 December 2023

Online, 12:00 - 13:00 GMT

WEBINAR – Challenging the Theory-Based/Counterfactual Binary

Counterfactual and theory-based are usually seen as distinct kinds of impact evaluation – but what if the two kinds aren’t as distinct as they can appear?


RCTs are an instance of the counterfactual kind of impact evaluation, and contribution analysis of the theory-based kind. For example, the UK’s Magenta Book recommends using theory-based evaluation if you can’t find a comparison group. The founding texts on contribution analysis present it as using a non-counterfactual approach to causation.

In this talk, Dr Andi Fugard will explore what happens if we challenge the binary. For example, what might a theory-based RCT look like or a counterfactual contribution analysis? They will draw on debates in evaluation and the broader literature on counterfactuals, for example in philosophy and AI.


Andi Fugard

Dr Andi Fugard is Co-Director of NatCen’s Centre for Evaluation. They have over a decade of experience designing and delivering a wide variety of evaluations, including pilots, embedding outcomes monitoring in routine practice, cluster randomised controlled trials, and quasi-experimental evaluations, primarily in mental health and education. They have also conducted research on the psychology of reasoning under uncertainty, and methodology research, including developing a novel quantitative approach for choosing a sample size for qualitative studies. They are passionate about using social science and causal inference to improve people’s lives. Andi is a member of the UK government Evaluation and Trial Advice Panel, which advises civil servants and What Works Centres.


Session Chaired by:

Bridget Dillon

President, UK Evaluation Society



Members:  Free

Non-members: £20