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In the earlier two decades, there has been an evolving trend towards increased participation of the social sciences in the social policy field. While much of this involvement is directed towards the endowment of expert demonstration and presentation of research data during the early phases of policy planning and development, interest is being directed to the importance of evaluating social policies in such a manner as to improve the implementation of policy and the likelihood of attaining policy objectives. Social policies may be made implicitly or explicitly, by a wide range of social institutions and groups, including the state. The task of social policy analysis is to evaluate the distributional impact of existing policies and proposals and the rationales underlying them. Thoughtful scholars have discussed the complex nature of the social research-social policy relationship, and yet many persons continue to plan, conduct, interepret, and fund social research as if they expected it to generate facts that have simple effects on policy.

Social Policy Evaluation represents an exploration into issues relevant to the application of evaluation methodologies and theories to the social policy arena. A number of evaluation approaches and issues are explored in the context of an illustrative policy. This book uses methodologies and cases to discover how and when to evaluate social policy, and looks at the possible impacts of evaluation on social policy decisions. The book proposes framework for the systematic comparative analysis of equity in social policy design. Equity research concentrates on theories of justice, on empirical studies on equity beliefs or on testing specific equity interpretations. Unless social policy teaching and research adapts its tools and methods to take account of these social factors it is likely to become increasingly detached from the real world of social welfare.