What is an implementation & process evaluation?
An implementation & process evaluation helps you to determine whether your intervention or service can work. It investigates whether the key components – such as resources, activities and population reach – are practical and achievable.
This kind of evaluation is concerned with the implementation of the intervention or service. It is important to note that this type of evaluation will not tell you whether your programme or service does work – that is the role of an impact evaluation.
Why is it important?
Implementation and process evaluations help to determine whether it is worth investing further in your intervention or service. It is important to know, early on, whether your intervention or service is going to be too difficult to deliver or too expensive, or whether its intended recipients are actually going to attend and remain engaged.
A process evaluation is also useful in ensuring monitoring systems are in place to track participants across the intervention or service, and to help identify and manage risk.
Below are the key principles we believe should form the basis for designing your implementation and process evaluation:
- The evaluation should look at three areas: delivery, participation and cost.
- Delivery should focus on what is delivered and the factors that affect this delivery.
- Participation should focus on recruitment, retention and reach. This includes exploring the reasons behind recruitment and retention challenges, levels of user satisfaction with different elements of the programme, and whether the programme is reaching its target population.
- Evaluating the cost of the intervention or service will help you to determine the unit cost per participant. This will help you to understand how expensive it is compared to other options, and therefore whether it is feasible from a cost point of view.
- Both quantitative and qualitative measures can and should be used to explore implementation. This will help to identify what is happening (quantitative measures) and why this is happening (qualitative measures). This may include monitoring data on recruitment and retention, in-depth qualitative interviews with practitioners and participants, and comprehensive data on costs.