Evaluate and Refine
As with all programs and projects undertaken, evaluation and quality improvement are an essential step. This stage concentrates on measuring whether the program achieved what it set out to and allows reflection on what went well and what did not.
Scientist and clinician surveys should be developed and circulated to all participants at the completion of the program. Capturing this feedback is one of the most valuable ways to capture honest feedback and thoughts on how the program was for the target audience.
When developing the evaluation questions for the survey, consider the following:
- Align questions to your program objectives
- Keep questions short and clear to encourage participants to complete
- Avoid biased or leading questions
- Use language that is relevant to the audience
- Keep questions in a logical order, with an easy to follow format/layout
Follow-up interviews – qualitative data
If time allows or if you would like more in-depth data, include several follow up interviews with participants. This will provide richer data and insights and can complement the survey findings.
Another way to capture rich data is by continuing with 6 monthly or 12 monthly follow-ups with participants. The findings of this could assist in developing a stronger case for more or similar programs running if it is found that collaborations are long-term and have led to successful funding opportunities.
A good program utilises the collected evaluation data to feedback potential improvements in the quality and functioning of the program. This could be through improving how the program meets the target audience needs or even adjusting the processes/logistics undertaken during implementation phase to make things easier for the project team. The aim is to reflect on how the program ran and ways it could run more efficiently next time.
A review of the evaluation comments/suggestions from the participants, as well as gathering the project teams’ reflections, will assist you in distilling key themes or areas of potential improvements for the program.