Interrogating the Casual Theories Underpinning social Investment: Action research using the Qualitative Impact Protocol (QuIP)

The Essex Accounting Centre (EAC) warmly invite you to join guest speaker Professor James Copestake from the University of Bath.

  • Fri 10 Dec 21

    14:00 - 16:00

  • Online

    Join this seminar

  • Event speaker

    Professor James Copestake, University of Bath

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    Essex Accounting Centre (EAC) Research Seminar Series

  • Event organiser

    Essex Business School

  • Contact details

    Dr Chaoyuan She

The aim of the Essex Accounting Centre (EAC) research seminar series is to support our world-class research activities in five key areas: accounting and global development; capital markets, audit, regulation and reporting; publicness and resilience, precarity, exclusion and social justice; environment, climate change and vulnerability. The seminar series is also expected to promote interdisciplinary research that links the work of members of the centre with others both within the university and with external institutions.


The Centre for Accountability and Global Development (CAGD) is a vibrant research hub of Essex Business School that promotes debate and seeks solutions to various issues of global interest. CAGD adopts an interdisciplinary approach to research focusing on accountability aspects across various societal spheres (i.e. social, business and public governance), in both emerging and advanced economies contexts.

Seminar abstract

Social investors are informed by causal theories linking their financing to intended social outcomes.

I will reflect on the role of independent evaluation studies as a means to interrogate these theories. How far are they consistent with the perceptions of other stakeholders, particularly end-users or intended beneficiaries, and how open are investors to adjusting their views in response to such feedback?

I will reflect on insights gained from key informant interviews conducted with staff in organisations who have commissioned QuIP studies conducted by Bath SDR Ltd over the last five years.

This is a university spin-off social enterprise set up specifically to undertake QuIP studies as a form of action research. C

lients have included leading charities, foundations, private firms and impact investors, bilateral donors and UN agencies. The presentation updates and builds on Attributing Development Impact, published in 2019.

In addressing recurring evaluation problems (including contextual complexity, confirmation bias, weak generalisability, opaque data analysis and organisational decoupling) it points to new approaches that incorporate mixed methods, blindfolded interviewing, rigorous qualitative coding and the use of causal mapping to interrogate middle range theory.


How to attend this seminar

This seminar is free to attend with no need to register in advance.

We welcome you to join this seminar online on Friday 10 December 2021 at 2pm

Enjoy this seminar with your friends, colleagues and classmates.


Speaker bio

James Copestake is co-director of the Centre for Development Studies at the University of Bath, director of studies for the Doctorate in Policy Research and Practice at the Institute for Policy Research, and a founding director of Bath Social and Development Research Ltd.

His teaching, research and publications explore development finance and its evaluation, defining development finance as investing money with social intent. This entails identifying how different actors think about social value and about the causal mechanisms linking it to their activities.

James has conducted and supported research in many countries - particularly Bolivia, India, Malawi, Peru, the UK and Zambia.

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