Your evaluation questions answered!

Abby Sabey, Senior Lecturer at the University of the West of England (UWE)

Abbey is also a Senior Teaching Fellow at CLAHRC West and delivers training with the West of England AHSN. Here she reflects on the recent delivery of the ‘Introduction to Service Evaluation’ course and answers some key questions…

I ran the ‘Introduction to Service Evaluation’ course with my expert evaluation colleague Kathy Pollard from UWE, in early December. On this one day course for health service providers and commissioners, we share experience of successful evaluations and facilitate group work that gives participants the opportunity to develop their own evaluation ideas. Like every other occasion I was bowled over by the commitment, thoughtfulness and hard work of everyone who came along to join us at CLAHRC West.

Earlier this year we refreshed the course and built in a small element about using the principles of logic modelling to develop an evaluation plan. Logic modelling helps you tell the story of your project in a diagram and a few simple words, helping you test the logic of what you plan to do and how this will make a difference. It worked its magic again this time and everyone took away a completed plan on which to base their evaluation.

The group who joined us included people working in public health, medical physics and commissioning; highlighting the wide range of people who are getting involved in evaluation. There was a great communal feeling in the room during the course. We give lots of opportunity for people to interact and discuss their projects as a way to test out and develop ideas and this time in particular, it was noticeable how much support there was within the group.

Towards the end participants showed how far they had come by presenting a three minute summary of their plan; great evidence of a productive day. We were delighted to get an almost perfect four out of four in the course evaluations; a great morale boost at the end of another year of training!

If any of this has given you an appetite for evaluation, feast on these top tips and resources:

1. What is evaluation and why is it important?

Evaluation is a way of learning what works, why and how…and why things don’t work. It leads to change and improvement; enhances quality; and shows accountability and organisational learning. Evaluation also contributes to the evidence base. This short video explains more

2. I need to do an evaluation, where do I start?

The Evaluation Works toolkit! It provides a step by step approach to completing an evaluation through five steps of the evaluation cycle.

evaluation cycle for service evaluation

Only got five minutes? Watch this short video on the first step of the cycle and check out the quick start guide

Got half an hour? Watch the full collection of videos that make up key components of the ‘Getting Started with Service Evaluation’ course here

Got more time? Work through the toolkit step by step or come along to the next training workshop.

3. Where can I find out more?

  • CLAHRC West offer a variety of training courses. Keep an eye out for the next ‘Introduction to Service Evaluation’ on their website
  • Learn from the experience of others. There are several case studies on the West of England AHSN website demonstrating the positive impact of service evaluation
  • You could also sign up to the evaluation online network; a virtual peer to peer support group for all things evaluation related
  • And of course, the Evaluation Works toolkit is full of advice and resources

Posted on January 29, 2018 by Abby Sabey, Senior Lecturer in Research Methods, UWE

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