Evaluating Research Outcomes: Worksheets & Assignments

@KingBaino, 2016. “Checklist: Evaluation Outcomes,” Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Zahara, Alex, 2016. “Checklist: Evaluation of Research Outcomes,” Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Liboiron, Max, 2016. “Assignment: Evaluation of Research Outcomes,” Memorial University of Newfoundland.

If research aims to make change, then an evaluation checklist helps the researcher determine if their research has created the desired impact. It can also guide the researcher to think about how they might conduct, write, or disseminate their research in such a way that it is more likely to make change. The above assignment on Evaluation of Research Outcomes asks students to create an evaluation checklist for their action-based research. The two checklists by @KingBaino and Alex Zahara are two examples of what such an evaluation entails. The @KingBaino checklist is focused on influencing policy on development aid through a master’s thesis and white paper, and Zahara’s checklist is about conducting deeply ethical and action-oriented research on contamination in Aboriginal territories for a PhD dissertation.

Community‐Based Participatory Research: Assessing the Evidence

Viswanathan, M., A. Ammerman, E. Eng, G. Garlehner, K.N. Lohr, D. Griffith, S. Rhodes, et al. 2004. “CommunityBased Participatory Research: Assessing the Evidence,” August.

Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR) is a participatory approach to research that is meant to increase the value of studies for both researchers and the communities being studied. When done properly, CBPR creates bridges between scientist and communities through the use of shared knowledge and valuable experiences. The advantages of using this approach in research are explained. This is a summary of the work commissioned by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to do a review of the community-based participatory research and its role in the improvement of community health. Four key questions were identified to do this review. They included finding out the definition of community-based participatory research, methods of implementation, the intended outcomes of this approach, and the criteria that should be used to review community-based participatory approach in grant proposals. The report then discusses the answers to these questions based on the research done with community research partners, academic researchers and research financiers and through the use of different data sources. Recommendations for scientists planning to use community-based participatory approach in the future are given such as creating a balance between research methodologies and community collaboration.

The Elusive Craft of Evaluating Advocacy

Steven Teles & Mark Schmitt, The Elusive Craft of Evaluating Advocacy, STANFORD SOCIAL INNOVATION REV. (2011)

This paper focuses on advocacy as a method of shaping public policy or for social good. It talks about tools that can be used to evaluate these and other advocacy efforts. The paper argues that advocacy evaluation should be seen as a form of trained judgement rather than a method. This judgement involves a clear understanding of the politics of the issue in question, strong networks with key players and an ability to assess organizational quality. To carry out such an advocacy evaluation it is important to understand the context in which the advocates and service providers work in the real world. The author does this giving cases of past reform efforts such as the health care reform among others. It further points out that services and advocacy are different and would therefore require different methods of evaluation. The factors that make advocacy efforts effective as well those that are limiting are also addressed. Though organizations often devise methods of advocacy that can be replicated, the author argues that not all them can be applied to every other organization successfully. This is why it is important to consider the context. To conclude the author suggests that when doing advocacy evaluation the ‘proper unit of analysis is the long-term adaptability, strategic capacity and ultimately influence of organizations themselves.’

Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA): Analysis of Experience

Chambers, R. (1994) “Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA): Analysis of Experience”. World Development, vol 22, no 9, pp. 1253–1268.

The more significant principles of Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) concern the behavior and attitudes of outsider facilitators, including not rushing, “handing over the stick,” and being self-critically aware. The power and popularity of PRA are partly explained by the unexpected analytical abilities of local people when catalyzed by relaxed rapport, and expressed through sequences of participatory and especially visual methods. Evidence to date shows high validity and reliability of information shared by local people through PRA compared with data from more traditional methods. Explanations include reversals and shifts of emphasis: from etic to emic, closed to open, individual to group, verbal to visual, and measuring to comparing; and from extracting information to empowering local analysts. Includes sections on community surveys and census. 

Feminist evaluation and research: theory and practice

Brisolara, S., Seigart, D., & SenGupta, S. (Eds.). (2014). Feminist evaluation and research: theory and practice. Guilford Publications. Chapter 2: pages 42-58.

In three sections this book focuses on Feminist Theory, feminist evaluation in practice and feminist research in practice. The chapters are written by different authors who focus on areas such as application of feminist theory, measuring gender inequality and perspectives on gender power. The book argues that there is need for feminist inquiry and action based on the current realities of increased social and economic disparities, use of rape and sexual violence against women as weapons of war, and the overrepresentation of women in poverty rates. A variety of feminist theories are discussed in detail with examples from the society. Some of them include sexuality theory, Race-Based feminist theory, and postcolonial theories. The question of what methodology to use, quantitative or qualitative, in feminist research is addressed in relation to the concept of objectivity. Key principles in feminist evaluation are addressed, two of the principles are ‘Knowledge is a powerful resource that serves an explicit or implicit purpose’ and ‘discrimination based on gender is systemic and structural.’