Using a community-based participatory approach (1) and strategies that focus on maximising utilisation (2) of findings, evaluation work has benefits that extend way beyond the production of an evaluation report. My evaluation process features community and client engagement and capacity building of individuals, teams and organisations.
Through my expertise in qualitative and quantitative methods and engaging the specialised expertise of my Associates, I employ a range methodological approaches to tailor an approach and provide rigorous evidence to answer the important evaluation questions for clients in the health and community sectors. I regularly use case study and narrative approaches (3) to simultaneously evaluate program processes, effectiveness and value. Findings are presented in reports and presentations that have a practical "implementation of findings" focus and are accessible to clients, stakeholders and participants.
Evaluation reports: Reports are written with "utlisation" of findings in mind. They have a practical structure with clear questions and answers based on rigorous evidence. Detailed methodology and analysis is provided as a transparent evidence-base separately in the report.
Published papers and presentations: Where appropriate and of benefit to clients, evaluation findings and methodological approaches are communicated more widely through published papers and presentations.
Evaluation presentations: Presentation of evaluation findings to clients, stakeholders and participants prior to the completion of the final evaluation report enables clients assists in ensuring continued engagement and utilisation of findings.
List of useful resources- Evaluation
Abbato, S. The case for evaluating process and worth: Evaluation of a programme for carers and people with dementia. In- Advances in Program Evaluation Volume 15. Case Study Evaluation: Past, present and future challenges. Editors: J Russell, T Greenhalgh and S Kushner. Emerald Books 2015.
Minkler M and Wallerstein N. Community-based participatory research for health: From process to outcomes. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 2008.
Patton, M Q. Utlization-focused evaluation. 4th edition. Sage, Thousand Oaks, California. 2008.
Patton, M Q. Essentials of utlization-focused evaluation. Sage, Thousand Oaks, California, 2012.
Simons, H. Case study research in practice. Sage, London, 2009.
Yin, R K. Case study research: Design and methods. 5th edition. Sage, Thousand Oaks, California. 2014.
Better Evaluation:An international collaboration to improve evaluation practice and theory by sharing and generating information about options (methods or processes) and approaches.
Visual Insights: A pictures and stories approach to monitoring, evaluation, learning and planning. A partnership between Sam Abbato and Chris Skelly.
Program logic worksheet table (source: PDE, University of Wisconsin Extension)
Program logic worksheet flowchart (source: PDE, University of Wisconsin Extension)
(1) Community-based participatory approach: Participatory approaches attempt to involve in an evaluation all who have a stake in its outcomes, with a view to these individuals and organisations taking action and effecting change on the basis of the evaluation. If an evaluation is going to change anything, it has to be useful and percieved to be useful by everyone involved, whether a funder, participant or project worker. A key principle is that participants and project workers play an active role in the evaluation (Minkler and Wallerstein 2008).
(2) Utlisation-focussed evaluation: Utlisation-focussed evaluation involves careful consideration of how everything that is done as part of the evaluation plan and process will affect the use of the results by the client. It is focused on real and specific users and uses (Patton 2012).
(3) Case study approach to evaluation: Case study is the study of the singular, the particular, the unique as a means of understanding the complexity of programs and policies in their political, social and cultural contexts (Simons 2009). It investigates the "case" in-depth and within its real-world context (Yin 2014).