What is evaluation?
Evaluation is about judging or comparing the merit or worth of something.
Evaluation can range from being very simple service evaluations to complex evaluative research projects. Each service will require a different approach depending on the purpose of the evaluation, evidence base, stage of development, context of the service, and the resources and timescales for the evaluation.
Evaluations can focus on implementation and learning (formative evaluation), how a service works (process evaluation) and whether it has worked (outcome or summative evaluation) – or all of these aspects over the life cycle of a project.
Evaluation is defined as:
“A study in which research procedures are used in a systematic way to judge the quality or worth of a service or intervention, providing evidence that can be used to improve it.”
What is evaluation and why is it important?
Evaluation toolkit – Evaluation Works
The online evaluation toolkit Evaluation Works is for health professionals and commissioners, to guide you through the evaluation process. The toolkit includes:
Evidence toolkit – Evidence works
The online evidence toolkit Evidence Works was created alongside Evaluation Works. It includes:
Both toolkits were developed in partnership with the West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) and the Avon Primary Care Research Collaborative (APCRC).
Evaluation Online Network
The Evaluation Online Network is a virtual group for anyone interested in evaluation in the West of England and beyond. It is led by Pam Moule, Professor of Health Services Research (Service Evaluation) at the University of the West of England, and Jo Bangoura, Evaluation & Commissioning Liaison Manager at the West of England AHSN.
Ethics, governance and patient and public involvement are well established in research. But service evaluation often isn’t considered from this perspective. So we have produced this guidance, made up of several documents, to address this.
Guidelines for patient and public involvement in evaluation
This leaflet offers an accessible guide to support you to embed patient and public involvement (PPI) in your evaluation activities and to ensure that public contributors really feel part of the evaluation team. It outlines an approach to PPI in evaluation that is meaningful, collaborative, supportive, developmental, effective, reflective and ethical.
The leaflet has been co-produced by patients, service users, public contributors, staff from voluntary, academic and statutory sectors, and the South West Evaluator Forum, with funding from the UK Evaluation Society. To print this, select ‘print on both sides’ and ‘flip on short edge’.
Guidelines for evaluators and commissioners of evaluation in health and social care
These full guidelines offer a framework for the governance of service evaluation and a code of good practice around ethics. They include links to practical examples of governance forms and checklists, and links to other useful sources of information and support around good practice in evaluation.
They were developed in consultation with stakeholders in universities and health organisations in the West of England, and with patient and public representatives. The guidelines are aimed at anyone conducting service evaluations in health and social care.
The quick guide leaflet is in tri-fold format. To print this, select ‘print on both sides’ and ‘flip on short edge’.
- Full guidelines – best practice in the ethics and governance of service evaluation (PDF)
- Quick guide leaflet – best practice in the ethics and governance of service evaluation (PDF)
The following documents are resources that can be used alongside the full guidelines.
Quality assurance checklist
This checklist helps you to quality assure the planned approach to your evaluation, to ensure that it:
- is proportionate
- is feasible
- has a clear purpose which is linked to the organisation’s priorities
- has an identified lead responsible for its delivery
- has identified ethical issues and risks
- has utility and that plans are in place to share, and feedback to those who took part
Risk and issues assessment guide
This guide aims to help you identify some of the ethical issues and risk to consider when planning a service evaluation. It also prompts you to consider organisational policies including data protection and information governance.
Register of evaluation projects
A template for a central record for registering and tracking evaluation projects. A register of evaluation projects provides a governance mechanism to ensure compliance with organisational policies and procedures, and can be useful for recording quality assurance and ethical review. It is a valuable source of information for the whole organisation, eliminating the risk of duplication of work and providing an easy overview of evaluation projects. The register should be held by the evaluation lead in an organisation or in the project management office (PMO) or similar central department.
All materials were produced through the support of the West of England Evaluation Strategy Group, hosted by NIHR CLAHRC West.