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Cymraeg 2050: A million Welsh speakers’, published in 2017, is the Welsh Government’s strategy for the promotion and facilitation of the use of the Welsh language. The document sets the two targets of a million Welsh speakers and increasing the percentage of the population that speak Welsh daily, and that can speak more than just a few words of Welsh, to 20% by 2050.

The Strategy is structured around three themes, each comprising a series of aims.

  1. Theme 1: increasing the number of Welsh speakers.
  2. Theme 2: increasing the use of Welsh.
  3. Theme 3: creating favourable conditions, infrastructure and context.

The Cymraeg 2050 Research and Evaluation Framework seeks to offer guidance for the collection and analysis of evidence and data, assessing progress, and evaluating the impact of ‘Cymraeg 2050’ as it is implemented.

The Framework is designed to be used by organisations conducting research or evaluation in relation to ‘Cymraeg 2050’. It also seeks to support and offer guidance for organisations seeking to evaluate their own activities in relation to ‘Cymraeg 2050’. It is also intended to support the work of the Welsh Government itself, and facilitate the process of ensuring that policy is developed and delivered with the aims of the Strategy in mind.

The Framework’s purpose is to provide an overview of the key considerations that will inform research and evaluation work over the coming years. In that sense, the Framework intends to support a collaborative process whereby the Welsh Government will seek to work with other organisations and bodies carrying out research and evaluation, to develop the evidence base for ‘Cymraeg 2050’.

After a brief introduction in Chapter 1, Chapter 2 of the Framework introduces the policy context for ‘Cymraeg 2050’, noting its statutory basis, its relation to the Welsh Government’s well-being goals, as well as outlining recent policy positions set out in the Programme for Government and the Co-operation Agreement.

Chapter 3 offers an overview of the Strategy itself by outlining the relationship between the Strategy, the annual Action Plans setting out the activities to be undertaken in a given financial year, and the two Work Programmes that have been published to date (covering 2017-21 and 2021-26). The chapter notes that the delivery of outcomes is often dependent upon activity across a range of policy areas. The Framework consequently emphasises the need to evaluate the extent to which ‘Cymraeg 2050’ is delivered as a Welsh Government-wide strategy. The Framework also notes that implementing the Strategy will require the involvement of a range of partners and organisations, and that the Government’s role extends to ensuring that mechanisms exist to promote strategic collaboration between partners.

The chapter also discusses the conceptual bases for the Strategy, an important consideration and context for researchers seeking to understand the theory that underpins ‘Cymraeg 2050’ and related activities. Particular attention is drawn to the principle of looking at the acquisition and use of the Welsh language as a lifelong experience. A life course approach provides a basis for understanding the experiences of speakers at various stages, and specifically at ‘critical points’ of their lives.

Chapter 4 discusses possible methodologies and approaches to evaluating ‘Cymraeg 2050’. It identifies the need to explore the robustness of the Strategy’s rationale, and developing a theory (or theories) of change is proposed as a means of expressing that rationale, and as a basis for its evaluation.  Some of the considerations and challenges associated with evaluating the Strategy, and attributing impact to the Strategy, are also discussed. Key sources of data and evidence to support research and evaluation are provided. The Chapter concludes by outlining key research and evaluation priorities for the Government.

The discussion of priorities suggests that considerations of when short- and longer-term outcomes can be expected to be seen will be key, as evaluations are planned, and evidence is analysed. The evaluability of aspects of the Strategy is also likely to require further refinement and development. This is likely to involve developing further and more detailed theories of change, developing an understanding of the wider context, and identifying appropriate indicators and data sources. This section also notes that the programme of research and evaluation will need to consider how the life course approach can enrich the evidence base, through longitudinal studies, ethnographic studies, and other means of exploring the lived experiences of speakers.

The chapter concludes by proposing a number of key research questions that could guide process, impact, and theory evaluations of the Strategy to support its ongoing delivery.

Chapter 5 presents a theory of change as a starting point for further development. The theory of change seeks to highlight the interrelationship between the 15 aims of the Strategy across the three themes.

Chapters 6 to 8 offer further detail on each of the three themes and 15 aims of the Strategy. The chapters present the key context and considerations for the themes and note the specific sources of data that could be used to monitor progress towards the targets. The chapters also discuss the research priorities and list a number of research questions relating to each theme. The priorities for Theme 3 differ somewhat from the others owing to the emphasis on developing a fuller understanding of the context and the evaluability of the theme and its outcomes.

Following the discussion of the theme, each of the three final chapters presents a detailed discussion of each aim in turn. The discussion considers the rationale, short- and longer-term outcomes, wider context and considerations, and assumptions relating to each aim, along with relevant data sources and Welsh Government research publications. This is not possible in some instances however, where further work is required to develop the understanding and evaluability of the aim.

Annexe A: Data Sources offers further details in relation to the data sources presented in the document.

Contact details

Report authors: Welsh language research branch

Views expressed in this report are those of the researchers and not necessarily those of the Welsh Government.

For further information please contact:
Welsh language research branch

Social research number: 73/2022
Digital ISBN 978-1-80535-004-0

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