This working paper sets out the essentials of the evaluability assessment approach, which What Works Scotland has identified as one of its key approaches to improving the use of evaluation and evidence by community planning partnerships. The paper describes how evaluability assessment has been used to date, with a focus on examples relevant to Scotland, and suggests how it may be used in future.
Evaluability assessment (EA) is a systematic approach to planning evaluation projects. It involves structured engagement by researchers with stakeholders to clarify intervention goals and how they are expected to be achieved, the development and evaluation of a logic model or theory of change, and provision of advice on whether or not an evaluation can be carried out at reasonable cost, and what methods should be used.
To date, evaluability assessment has been relatively little used in the UK, but it has begun to attract attention as a way of balancing the growing demand for evaluation with the limited resource available.
As well as providing a sound basis for making decisions about whether and how to evaluate before resources are committed, evaluability assessment can improve the translation of research into practice by ensuring that policy-makers and practitioners are involved from the beginning in developing and appraising evaluation options.
Two evaluability assessments conducted in Scotland not long before the publication of this paper, provide a model that can be applied to a wide range of interventions, programmes and policies at national, regional and local levels.
What Works Scotland has identified evaluability assessment as one of its key approaches to improving the use of evaluation and evidence by community planning partnerships (CPPs) and is keen to work with CPPs to apply EA to their improvement work.
This paper sets out the essentials of the evaluability assessment approach, describes how it has been used to date, with a focus on examples relevant to Scotland, and suggests how it may be used in future.
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Authors: Peter Craig and Mhairi Campbell, systematic reviewer working within the Informing Healthy Public Policy Programme at the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit,University of Glasgow
Publication date: July 2015
Type of publication: Working paper