"Never underestimate the time and effort but also the value involved in evaluating your engagement activities."
SFI Discover is the education and public engagement (EPE) programme of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). Its mission is to ‘catalyse, inspire and guide the best in STEM education and public engagement’. In June 2014 the SFI Executive Committee approved the SFI Discover Programme Strategy and Objectives. One of the key elements of the Strategy is to provide guidance to the EPE community through the development of toolkits.
In addition to this, an important part of the SFI Discover Programme is to inspire science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) EPE through monitoring and evaluation of key programmes, and analysing the results in order to ensure informed practice, and to help to identify excellent EPE activities. These elements of the Strategy and Objectives have led to the development of this evaluation toolkit.
Every project is different and thus there is no one size fits all evaluation methodology. This Toolkit aims to provide you with a basic understanding of evaluation, how to embed evaluation into project planning stages, and to identify various methodologies for evaluation data collection, analysis and dissemination. All events and projects are unique, so it is up to you to apply the most appropriate evaluation methods for your project.
To assist you in navigating the different stages of project evaluation, we've broken he process down into seven steps:
This section introduces the main concepts involved in project evaluation, offers advice on getting started, and explains terms such as public engagement and evaluation; click here
Evaluation should be part of your project from the start. This section describes how to incorporate evaluation into your project, from the planning stages right through to completion; click here
It is vital to know what you want your project to achieve, and to measure its impact as you proceed and when it is complete. This document gives you tips on how to measure the impact of your project; click here.
There is no 'one size fits all' approach to evaluation. This section offers a number of evaluation types to help you choose which would best suit your project; click here
Once you know what you need to evaluate, you will need to choose an evaluation design that can best help to achieve this. This section offers some suggestions, and explains the difference between experimental and quasi-experimental designs; click here
There are many ways to collect data on your project. This section lists some of the main methods, and how to analyse it appropriately; click here
Have you answered the evaluation questions you set yourself? Now it is time to report the answers to your stakeholders; click here