Involvement should be evaluated from consumers’ and researchers’ point of view. This page provides advice and tools
Evaluation can help researchers and research organisations improve project and program management by building in review and reflections throughout the process. It is important to evaluate both the process of involvement and the impacts of involvement on the project itself.
To be able to effectively evaluate consumer involvement, you will need to give it some thought before you start. The following questions may be helpful to consider:
- How will you know if your involvement activity achieved the outcome you were hoping for (whether it has it met its objective)?
- How will you know if your involvement activity achieved the outcome that those you involved were hoping for?
- What will be your measure/indicator of success?
One simple example could be to survey people at the start of a project to see what their expectations are and then again at the end to see if they were met.
Consumer involvement can have different types of impact and some impacts are likely to be easier to evaluate than others.
To continuously improve the quality of any future involvement activities, it is important to evaluate the involvement process:
- To improve your understanding of what aspects of involvement work best for you and for the consumers you involve.
- To confirm whether inclusive mechanisms and processes have been established.
- To confirm whether the experiential knowledge of consumers is being valued.
- To allow you to feedback to those involved, the difference they made.
Evaluation should be a continuous process and it is useful for all members of the research team to be part of this process by periodically reflecting on what is working well, what the challenges are and what could be improved.
The following templates may be downloaded and adapted.
To continuously improve the quality of any future involvement activities, it is important to evaluate the impact of your involvement on your project in order to:
- build evidence of the value or impact of consumer involvement.
- to help justify funding and other resources for consumer involvement.
A useful template to assist is the Consumer Involvement Project Evaluation Form.
- Wright, D et al. Critical appraisal guidelines for assessing the quality and impact of user involvement in research. Health Expectations, (2010); 13: 359–368.
- Barber, R et al. Can the impact of public involvement on research be evaluated? A mixed methods study. Health Expect. (2012): 229–241.
- Dillon, EC et al. Measuring the Impact of Patient-Engaged Research: How a Methods Workshop Identified Critical Outcomes of Research Engagement. JPCRR. (2017); 4: 237–246.