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Author Vincent, Robin ♦ Nyirenda, Deborah ♦ Sambakunsi, Rodrick ♦ Gooding, Kate ♦ Makwinja, Regina
Source Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
Content type Text
Publisher Wellcome
File Format HTM / HTML
Date Created 2018-02-26
Copyright Year ©2018
Language English
Subject Domain (in LCC) R ♦ Q
Subject Keyword Science ♦ Medicine
Abstract Background: Evaluation of community and public engagement in research is important to deepen understanding of how engagement works and to enhance its effectiveness. Theories of change have been recommended for evaluating community engagement, for their ability to make explicit intended outcomes and understandings of how engagement activities contribute to these outcomes. However, there are few documented examples of using theories of change for evaluation of engagement. This article reports experience of using theories of change to develop a framework for evaluating community engagement in research at a clinical research organisation in Malawi. We describe the steps used to develop theories of change, and the way theories of change were used to design data collection plans. Based on our experience, we reflect on the advantages and challenges of the theory of change approach. Methods: The theories of change and evaluation framework were developed through a series of workshops and meetings between engagement practitioners, monitoring and evaluation staff, and researchers. We first identified goals for engagement, then used ‘so that’ chains to clarify pathways and intermediate outcomes between engagement activities and goals. Further meetings were held to refine initial theories of change, identify priority information needs, and define feasible evaluation methods. Results: The theory of change approach had several benefits. In particular, it helped to construct an evaluation framework focused on relevant outcomes and not just activities. The process of reflecting on intended goals and pathways also helped staff to review the design of engagement activities. Challenges included practical considerations around time to consider evaluation plans among practitioners (a challenge for evaluation more generally regardless of method), and more fundamental difficulties related to identifying feasible and agreed outcomes. Conclusions: These experiences from Malawi provide lessons for other research organisations considering use of theories of change to support evaluation of community engagement.
ISSN 2398502X
Age Range 18 to 22 years ♦ above 22 year
Educational Use Research
Education Level UG and PG ♦ Career/Technical Study
Learning Resource Type Article
Publisher Date 2018-02-01
e-ISSN 2398502X
Journal Wellcome Open Research
Volume Number 3

Source: Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)