COMM5704 Demonstrating Social Impact - 2019

Intensive, Kensington
Term 2
6 Units of Credit
UNSW Business School

Offering Selection
The course outline is not available for current semester. To view outlines from other year and/or semesters visit the archives

1. Course Details

Summary of Course

COMM5704 Demonstrating Social Impact is an elective course in the Graduate Certificate in Social Impact and the MBA (Social Impact) programs. It is highly recommended that students complete (or study simultaneously) the core course, Social Impact: Entrepreneurs and Social Innovation, before enrolling in this elective course. Demonstrating Social Impact provides an overview and introduction to social impact assessment, outcome and indicator measurement, data collection methods and evaluation as well as the underpinning principles of process, impact and economic evaluation and social impact assessment. It examines some of the key social impact measurement approaches increasingly used by leading third-sector organisations in Australia and internationally as well as by governments and large corporations. The course will provide the knowledge and tools necessary to understand and apply social impact frameworks and methodologies at a project and organisational level.

Units of Credit

The course is worth six units of credit.


Teaching Times and Locations

Please note that teaching times and locations are subject to change. Students are strongly advised to refer to the Class Timetable website for the most up-to-date teaching times and locations.

View course timetable

Course Policies & Support

Course Aims and Relationship to Other Courses

There is a growing interest in how third-sector organisations can measure and demonstrate their social impact to their broad range of stakeholders (e.g. target group, funders, governments). Corporate foundations and social investors are also applying greater rigour in deciding which projects and organisations to fund and have higher expectations of grantees in terms of evaluation and assessment of the projects funded. All sectors, government, corporate and the third sector increasingly want to know what is the social impact of their programs, initiatives, and investments.

The course will cover:

  • Rationale and Context: Why measure social impact? What does it mean to demonstrate social impact? The increased focus on outcomes measurement in the social, government, and business sectors; and the funding of outcomes measurement.
  • Frameworks: An overarching framework for outcomes measurement and evaluation; the program logic framework and its application in specific contexts.
  • Outcomes and Indicators: Developing indicators for outcomes across different social sectors; selection criteria for mapping potential indicators; data sources; population level and program level outcomes and indicators.
  • Evaluation: Underpinning principles of evaluation (stakeholder engagement, transparency, ethics, verification and assurance); process evaluation; impact evaluation; experimental and quasi-experimental approaches; formative evaluation; theory-driven evaluation; participatory evaluation; economic evaluation; Social Return on Investment; the practicalities and politics of evaluation; and communicating outcomes.
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Methods of Data Collection: Collecting data and survey design in different institutional contexts; cross-sectional vs longitudinal designs; pre-post analysis; control-treatment approaches; qualitative methods; methods of analysing quantitative and qualitative data; systematic reviews and meta-analysis; and big data.
  • Applications and policy: undertaking an applied outcomes measurement and evaluation exercise; evidence-based policy; and systems-level reforms to outcomes measurement in the social sector.

Additonal Course Details

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  1. Discuss the theory and principles of social impact assessment, as well as different forms of evaluation (process, impact, economic).
  2. Explain and critique the ethical, social and political elements of social impact assessment, including challenges to social impact assessment.
  3. Differentiate between inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes to develop the program logic of a given program or initiative in an applied setting.
  4. Determine which indicators to use for different outcomes, what indicators should be used in different circumstances and how to source the data for indicators.
  5. Critically evaluate key methodologies for measuring social impact, such as logic models, social accounting, triple bottom line and social return on investment.
  6. Work effectively in a team to identify a program or initiative that addresses a current social issue and to design a plan for demonstrating its social impact using either a LogFrame or social return on investment approach
  7. Communicate the planned social impact of a program through a written report and oral presentation.


3. Staff Contact Details

Position Name Email Location Phone Consultation Times
Course AuthorityIoana RamiaCentre for Social Impact UNSW The Quadrangle Building, Level 2, Kensington Sydney NSW 2052 Australia+61 2 8936 0903By appointment
Guest ProfessorPaul Robert FlatauThe University of Western Australia Crawley, WA 6009, Australia61 8 6488 1366

Dr Ioana Ramia

Dr Ioana Ramia is a Lecturer and Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Impact. Ioana is passionate about applying econometric techniques to solve social problems and contribute to bringing about social change at individual, organisational and societal levels. She has a great understanding of social policy and ability to work across a number of social domains such as education, health, housing, wellbeing.

Ioana teaches social impact and measurement across CSI and Business School postgraduate degrees and has previously held guest and associate teaching appointments within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW. Ioana has completed research and evaluation for state government departments and nongovernmental organisations and has both academic and private consultancy sector expertise. She was previously employed by ARTD Consultants and the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC). Ioana completed her PhD in Social Science and Policy (UNSW) and MA in International Political Economy (University of Tsukuba, Japan).

Professor Paul Flatau

Professor Paul Flatau is the Chair in Social Investment and Impact and Director of the Centre for Social Impact at the UWA Business School. He commenced at the Centre for Social Impact at the UWA Business School in December 2010 and was formerly the Director of the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute WA Research Centre.

Paul has over 60 publications in the fields of economics and social policy and has an excellent track record in applying for and winning external national competitive research grants and industry/government grants and consultancies (more than 25 external competitive research grants or consultancies over the last 15 years).

Much of Paul's work in recent years has involved close contact with the not-for-profit sector, social enterprises, with government partners and with industry and philanthropists. Paul has made significant contributions to the analysis of social and economic outcomes and social impact and the effectiveness of programs and interventions in Indigenous housing, poverty, unemployment, homelessness, housing and the assessment of social innovations.

Paul holds a PhD in Economics from Murdoch University, an M.Ec. from UWA and a B.Ec. from Sydney University.

4. Learning and Teaching Activities

Approach to Learning and Teaching in the Course

This course adopts a 'blended' model of teaching - a combination of online modules and face-to-face classes. The first two online modules will set the context for the face-to-face classes and discuss the first topic. The face-to-face classes (over two weekends) comprise a lecture presentation setting the scene, framework and context for the topic being examined and then provide questions and exercises for discussion. Generally, discussions will take place in a small group setting with feedback to the class. Learning is facilitated through discussion and debate. Additional information on class format will be provided at the first session of the course while further course materials relating to each day's topic/s will be available via Moodle. The online modules comprise a written outline of the concepts and associated learning resources (readings, videos, websites).

The format and content of the course is intended to promote critical dialogue and reflection on the broad topic of social impact measurement frameworks and assessment. You are expected to complete the pre-requisite readings prior to each class.

Learning Activities and Teaching Strategies

You have three major resources to help you learn:

  1.   The course materials, comprising readings, references, insights and commentary for each topic.
  2. Your facilitator, whose role is to guide your learning by conducting class discussions, answering questions, providing insights from practical experience and understanding of theory, providing you with feedback on your Assessments, and directing discussions that will occur between you and your co-participants.
  3. Your co-participants, who are an invaluable source of learning for you. Their work and life, and their willingness to question and argue with the course materials, the facilitator and your views, represent a great learning opportunity. They bring much valuable insight to the learning.


Course Structure

COMM5704 Demonstrating Social Impact is taught in a 'blended', intensive mode of delivery spanning a total of 12 weeks from 3 June until 30 August 2019. There are two intensive weekends of face to-face (f2f) classes, Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 June and Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 July. Each of the weekend days run from 9am-5pm.

Before each weekend of f2f classes students are required to complete relevant online modules (Online Modules 1 & 2 and Online Module 3), which are accessed through the COMM5704 Moodle site. See the course schedule and topic list below for more details.

6. Course Resources

The website for this course is on Moodle at:

Login to Moodle with your student zID (username) and zPass (password).

If you encounter a technical problem while using Moodle, please contact the UNSW IT Service Desk via the following channels:



Telephone: +61 (2) 9385 1333

Phone and email support is available Monday to Friday 8am - 8pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am - 2pm. Online service requests can be made via their website.


There are no prescribed textbooks for this course. Each topic covered will have assigned readings (required and supplementary). All essential course resources will be available online via websites or the UNSW Library.


7. Course Evaluation & Development

Continual Course Improvement

Our courses are revised each time they run, with updated course overviews and assessment tasks. All courses are reviewed and revised regularly and significant course updates are carried out in line with industry developments, and the latest academic research. The Business School surveys students each time a course is offered. The data collected provides anonymous feedback from students on the quality of course content and materials, class facilitation, student support services and the CSI program in general. This student feedback is taken into account in all course revisions. All material used will be treated as confidential and these processes will have no bearing on course grades.

Student Response

UNSW's myExperience process is one of the ways in which student evaluative feedback is gathered. In this course we will seek your feedback through end of term myExperience evaluations.



Response to Student Feedback

Feedback from previous COMM5704 and other GCSI/MBA (SI) students indicate a desire to have the face-to-face course timetabled in a more intensive mode to accommodate work and family commitments. Accordingly, we have restructured this iteration of the course into a 'blended' mode of delivery, which combines online modules and two face-to-face intensive weekend classes. This redesign of the delivery of the course is aimed at providing greater flexibility for students through diversified platforms for student engagement and the mediums in which key concepts are communicated. The blended model also provides students with adequate time to understand and reflect upon course content before building on this knowledge in face-to-face workshops.

8. Course Schedule

Week Activity Topic Detail/Engagement Assessment Task
Week 1 Online modules 1 & 2Topic 1 The promises and pitfalls of demonstrating social impact

Topics 1 & 2; to be completed before 22 June

Week 2 Online modules 1 & 2Topic 2 The ethics and politics of demonstrating social impact
Week 3 -
Week 4 Intensive Weekend 1Topics 3-5

Day 1: 29 June 2019

Course Introduction

Review of online modules 1 & 2 (topics 1 & 2)

Topic 3: Preparing for social impact assessment

Topic 4: Theory-driven evaluation

Day 2: 30 June 2019

Topic 5: Logic models

Week 5 Assignment 1 due & Online module 3Topic 6 Social accounting, Triple Bottom Line and Integrated Reporting

 Essay: 2,000 words (25%) due on Friday 5 July by 11.59pm

Online module 3 (Topic 6) to be completed before 20 July

Assessment 1 : Essay
Week 6 Online module 3Topic 6 Social accounting, Triple Bottom Line and Integrated Reporting

Online module 3 (Topic 6) to be completed before 20 July

Week 7 Online module 3Topic 6 Social accounting, Triple Bottom Line and Integrated Reporting

Online module 3 (Topic 6) to be completed before 20 July

Week 8 Assessment 2 dueTopics 7-13

Group report: Outcomes evaluation plan, part 1: 3,000 words (30%) due Friday 26 July by 11.59pm

Day 3: 27 July 2018

Topic 7: Outcomes and indicators

Topic 8: Data and data analysis for impact assessment

Topic 9: Evaluation

Day 4: 28 July 2019 (facilitated by Prof Paul Flatau)

Topic 10: Economic evaluation and introduction to SROI

Topic 11: A systems and policy perspective

Topic 12: New developments in evidence

Topic 13: Communicating social impact

Course wrap up. Assessment 3 Q&A.

Assessment 2 : Group report: Outcomes evaluation plan, part 1
Week 9 -
Week 10 -
Week 11 Assessment 3

Outcomes evaluation plan, part 2: (individual work) 3,000 words (30%) due Sunday 18 August

Assessment 3 : Outcomes evaluation plan part 2
Week 12 -
Week 13 -

9. Policies and Support

Information about UNSW Business School protocols, University policies, student responsibilities and education quality and support.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Business School places knowledge and capabilities at the core of its curriculum via seven Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). These PLOs are systematically embedded and developed across the duration of all coursework programs in the Business School.

PLOs embody the knowledge, skills and capabilities that are taught, practised and assessed within each Business School program. They articulate what you should know and be able to do upon successful completion of your degree.

Upon graduation, you should have a high level of specialised business knowledge and capacity for responsible business thinking, underpinned by ethical professional practice. You should be able to harness, manage and communicate business information effectively and work collaboratively with others. You should be an experienced problem-solver and critical thinker, with a global perspective, cultural competence and the potential for innovative leadership.

All UNSW programs and courses are designed to assess the attainment of program and/or course level learning outcomes, as required by the UNSW Assessment Design Procedure. It is important that you become familiar with the Business School PLOs, as they constitute the framework which informs and shapes the components and assessments of the courses within your program of study.

PLO 1: Business knowledge

Students will make informed and effective selection and application of knowledge in a discipline or profession, in the contexts of local and global business.

PLO 2: Problem solving

Students will define and address business problems, and propose effective evidence-based solutions, through the application of rigorous analysis and critical thinking.

PLO 3: Business communication

Students will harness, manage and communicate business information effectively using multiple forms of communication across different channels.

PLO 4: Teamwork

Students will interact and collaborate effectively with others to achieve a common business purpose or fulfil a common business project, and reflect critically on the process and the outcomes.

PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Students will develop and be committed to responsible business thinking and approaches, which are underpinned by ethical professional practice and sustainability considerations.

PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

Students will be aware of business systems in the wider world and actively committed to recognise and respect the cultural norms, beliefs and values of others, and will apply this knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments.

PLO 7: Leadership development

Students will develop the capacity to take initiative, encourage forward thinking and bring about innovation, while effectively influencing others to achieve desired results.

These PLOs relate to undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs.  Separate PLOs for honours and postgraduate research programs are included under 'Related Documents'.

Business School course outlines provide detailed information for students on how the course learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessment/s contribute to the development of Program Learning Outcomes.



UNSW Graduate Capabilities

The Business School PLOs also incorporate UNSW graduate capabilities, a set of generic abilities and skills that all students are expected to achieve by graduation. These capabilities articulate the University’s institutional values, as well as future employer expectations.

UNSW Graduate CapabilitiesBusiness School PLOs
Scholars capable of independent and collaborative enquiry, rigorous in their analysis, critique and reflection, and able to innovate by applying their knowledge and skills to the solution of novel as well as routine problems.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Entrepreneurial leaders capable of initiating and embracing innovation and change, as well as engaging and enabling others to contribute to change
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Professionals capable of ethical, self-directed practice and independent lifelong learning
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Global citizens who are culturally adept and capable of respecting diversity and acting in a socially just and responsible way.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

While our programs are designed to provide coverage of all PLOs and graduate capabilities, they also provide you with a great deal of choice and flexibility.  The Business School strongly advises you to choose a range of courses that assist your development against the seven PLOs and four graduate capabilities, and to keep a record of your achievements as part of your portfolio. You can use a portfolio as evidence in employment applications as well as a reference for work or further study. For support with selecting your courses contact the UNSW Business School Student Centre.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Academic Integrity is honest and responsible scholarship. This form of ethical scholarship is highly valued at UNSW. Terms like Academic Integrity, misconduct, referencing, conventions, plagiarism, academic practices, citations and evidence based learning are all considered basic concepts that successful university students understand. Learning how to communicate original ideas, refer sources, work independently, and report results accurately and honestly are skills that you will be able to carry beyond your studies.

The definition of academic misconduct is broad. It covers practices such as cheating, copying and using another person’s work without appropriate acknowledgement. Incidents of academic misconduct may have serious consequences for students.


UNSW regards plagiarism as a form of academic misconduct. UNSW has very strict rules regarding plagiarism. Plagiarism at UNSW is using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own. All Schools in the Business School have a Student Ethics Officer who will investigate incidents of plagiarism and may result in a student’s name being placed on the Plagiarism and Student Misconduct Registers.

Below are examples of plagiarism including self-plagiarism:

Copying: Using the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This includes copying materials, ideas or concepts from a book, article, report or other written document, presentation, composition, artwork, design, drawing, circuitry, computer program or software, website, internet, other electronic resource, or another person's assignment, without appropriate acknowledgement of authorship.

Inappropriate Paraphrasing: Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas of the original, and information without acknowledgement. This also applies in presentations where someone paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit and to piecing together quotes and paraphrases into a new whole, without appropriate referencing.

Collusion: Presenting work as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part in collusion with other people. Collusion includes:

  • Students providing their work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them plagiarising at any time
  • Paying another person to perform an academic task and passing it off as your own
  • Stealing or acquiring another person’s academic work and copying it
  • Offering to complete another person’s work or seeking payment for completing academic work

Collusion should not be confused with academic collaboration (i.e., shared contribution towards a group task).

Inappropriate Citation: Citing sources which have not been read, without acknowledging the 'secondary' source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.

Self-Plagiarism: ‘Self-plagiarism’ occurs where an author republishes their own previously written work and presents it as new findings without referencing the earlier work, either in its entirety or partially. Self-plagiarism is also referred to as 'recycling', 'duplication', or 'multiple submissions of research findings' without disclosure. In the student context, self-plagiarism includes re-using parts of, or all of, a body of work that has already been submitted for assessment without proper citation.

To see if you understand plagiarism, do this short quiz:


The University also regards cheating as a form of academic misconduct. Cheating is knowingly submitting the work of others as their own and includes contract cheating (work produced by an external agent or third party that is submitted under the pretences of being a student’s original piece of work). Cheating is not acceptable at UNSW.

If you need to revise or clarify any terms associated with academic integrity you should explore the 'Working with Academic Integrity' self-paced lessons available at:

For UNSW policies, penalties, and information to help you avoid plagiarism see: as well as the guidelines in the online ELISE tutorials for all new UNSW students: For information on student conduct see:

For information on how to acknowledge your sources and reference correctly, see: If you are unsure what referencing style to use in this course, you should ask the lecturer in charge.

Student Responsibilities and Conduct

Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to university policies in relation to class attendance and general conduct and behaviour, including maintaining a safe, respectful environment; and to understand their obligations in relation to workload, assessment and keeping informed.

Information and policies on these topics can be found on the 'Managing your Program' website.


It is expected that you will spend at least ten to twelve hours per week studying for a course except for Summer Term courses which have a minimum weekly workload of twenty to twenty four hours. This time should be made up of reading, research, working on exercises and problems, online activities and attending classes. In periods where you need to complete assignments or prepare for examinations, the workload may be greater. Over-commitment has been a cause of failure for many students. You should take the required workload into account when planning how to balance study with employment and other activities.

We strongly encourage you to connect with your Moodle course websites in the first week of semester. Local and international research indicates that students who engage early and often with their course website are more likely to pass their course.

View more information on expected workload


Your regular and punctual attendance at lectures and seminars or in online learning activities is expected in this course. The Business School reserves the right to refuse final assessment to those students who attend less than 80% of scheduled classes where attendance and participation is required as part of the learning process (e.g., tutorials, flipped classroom sessions, seminars, labs, etc.).

View more information on attendance

General Conduct and Behaviour

You are expected to conduct yourself with consideration and respect for the needs of your fellow students and teaching staff. Conduct which unduly disrupts or interferes with a class, such as ringing or talking on mobile phones, is not acceptable and students may be asked to leave the class.

View more information on student conduct

Health and Safety

UNSW Policy requires each person to work safely and responsibly, in order to avoid personal injury and to protect the safety of others.

View more information on Health and Safety

Keeping Informed

You should take note of all announcements made in lectures, tutorials or on the course web site. From time to time, the University will send important announcements to your university e-mail address without providing you with a paper copy. You will be deemed to have received this information. It is also your responsibility to keep the University informed of all changes to your contact details.

Student Support and Resources

The University and the Business School provide a wide range of support services and resources for students, including:

Business School EQS Consultation Program
The Consultation Program offers academic writing, literacy and numeracy consultations, study skills, exam preparation for Business students. Services include workshops, online resources, individual and group consultations.
Level 1, Room 1035, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 4508

Business School Student Centre
The Business School Student Centre provides advice and direction on all aspects of admission, enrolment and graduation.
Level 1, Room 1028 in the Quadrangle Building
02 9385 3189

UNSW Learning Centre
The UNSW Learning Centre provides academic skills support services, including workshops and resources, for all UNSW students. See their website for details.
Lower Ground Floor, North Wing Chancellery Building.
02 9385 2060

Educational Support Service
Educational Support Advisors work with all students to promote the development of skills needed to succeed at university, whilst also providing personal support throughout the process. Check their website to request an appointment or to register in the Academic Success Program.
John Goodsell Building, Ground Floor.
02 9385 4734

Library services and facilities for students
The UNSW Library offers a range of collections, services and facilities both on-campus and online.
Main Library, F21.
02 9385 2650

Moodle eLearning Support
Moodle is the University’s learning management system. You should ensure that you log into Moodle regularly.
02 9385 3331

UNSW IT provides support and services for students such as password access, email services, wireless services and technical support.
UNSW Library Annexe (Ground floor).
02 9385 1333

Disability Support Services
UNSW Disability Support Services provides assistance to students who are trying to manage the demands of university as well as a health condition, learning disability or who have personal circumstances that are having an impact on their studies. Disability Advisers can arrange to put in place services and educational adjustments to make things more manageable so that students are able to complete their course requirements. To receive educational adjustments for disability support, students must first register with Disability Services.
Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building.
02 9385 4734

UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services
Provides support and services if you need help with your personal life, getting your academic life back on track or just want to know how to stay safe, including free, confidential counselling.
Level 2, East Wing, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 5418

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