The Three Steps of Evaluation
Understand the current situation. To carry out an intervention and seek to make a change, it is important to first get an understanding of what issues are at play. ARCLIGHT uses the six principles of engaged research (the “6P’s”). This involves drawing up a table and understanding six different aspects that you need to consider to meaningfully engage your participants.
By checking each of these categories, it is likely a good mapping will take place. If used in different places or situations, it will allow them to be compared and give insight as to where different approaches might be tried, or looking back, to understand the factors that helped each project to best succeed.
To understand the initial situation using the 6Ps, information can be found through ‘desk based research’ but interviews or focus groups with local community members or individuals working with the communities can provide insights
Ongoing monitoring: while the project is ongoing, it is important to understand how well
activities are going, if the project is starting to make a difference, and if any challenges or problems are happening that require a change in course. Gathering feedback after activities such as workshops or training sessions is valuable, and encourage the project team to keep a diary.
At the end of the project activities, it is important to look back over what has been done and understand what the results are, what made a difference and where there were challenges. Carrying out a second survey with participants who filled in an initial baseline survey will help you understand if changes have happened. Interviews with key people can give rich information about how they saw the activities and realised impacts. Interviews can also investigate what should be done looking forwards: how should the positive aspects be maintained, what could be done differently next time, and what plans should there be for the future?
One of the tools you can use for your initial evaluation is a Baseline Survey. This is a survey that tells you what people think at the beginning of a project is valuable. This will enable you to understand community members thoughts, opinions, and knowledge before you start, and from this, you will be later able to return and carry out the same survey and see what has changed, to help understand if impacts have been realised.