Social impact assessment and (realist) evaluation: meeting of the methods

C. Nicholas Taylor, Michael Mackay & Harvey C. Perkins

Abstract – Tuhinga Whakarāpopoto

In this paper, the researchers examine the interlinkages between social impact assessment and evaluation and, in particular, realist evaluation. They draw on recent research in the South Island, in which they link social impact assessment and elements of realist evaluation in the study of rural and small-town regeneration. The research identifies connections and makes suggestions regarding methods in social impact assessment and evaluation. They conclude by urging social impact assessment practitioners to use mixed methods, with a stronger emphasis on qualitative approaches, and especially to work with communities in an iterative way towards a conceptual basis for assessing and managing change and enhancing social wellbeing.

Other reports associated with this research

Taylor, C. N. & Mackay, M. (2022). Social Impact Assessment: Guidelines for thriving regions and communities. Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities. Wellington: BBHTC.

Articles associated with this research – Karere Tūhono

News: Social Impact Assessment: Guidelines for thriving regions and communities

25 July 2022: Regional communities are experiencing social impacts from economic regeneration projects, including tourism infrastructure development, heritage conservation, irrigation and new land uses, and housing, but how are these impacts measured? Building Better researchers Dr Nick Taylor, from Nick Taylor and Associates, and Dr Mike Mackay, from AgResearch, have recently published a comprehensive practical guideline to Social Impact Assessment (SIA) to help councils and community groups learn the basics about how to conduct an SIA, contribute to an SIA, use the results of an SIA, and judge if an SIA is fit for purpose. >> Read More

Keywords – Kupu Hāngai

Social impact; community engagement; community; impact assessment; social wellbeing; South Island; Te Waipounamu

Fields of Research – Āpure Rangahau

Social impact assessment; Regional development; Rural community development; Community planning; Built environment and design; Community engagement


Date – Te Wā Whakarewa



Type – Te Auaha

Journal paper

Citation – Kupu Hautoa

Taylor, N., Mackay, M. & Perkins, H. (2021). Social impact assessment and (realist) evaluation: meeting of the methods. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 39:6, 450-462, DOI: 10.1080/14615517.2021.1928425