Evaluation Journal of Australasia

Sage Publications, Inc.
Publication date:

Latest documents

  • Editorial
  • COVID-19 concerns, health services utilisation and social support among Western Australians with diabetes during the pandemic

    People with diabetes face increased risk of serious COVID-19 complications, making self-care for optimal metabolic management crucial. However, the pandemic has reduced access to routine care among people with diabetes. The pandemic can also elicit distress, which can impact diabetes self-management and health. To understand the impact of COVID-19 on Western Australians with diabetes, we conducted an evaluation involving an online survey of consumers of diabetes health services and an analysis of routine program data (i.e. service utilisation/program attendance). Survey respondents were concerned about contracting COVID-19, many intended to change the way they utilised health services and many indicated they would continue to socially isolate. Utilisation of digital/telephone services peaked between April and June 2020. Despite the concerns indicated, a participation resurgence was observed upon resumption of face-to-face programs. Continued access to diabetes programs via multiple modes of delivery is critical to support optimal self-care and mitigate COVID-19 risks, distress and social isolation. This timely and pragmatic assessment of consumer beliefs synthesised with routinely collected evaluation data represents an agile approach to evaluation through an emerging public health crisis. The findings helped to ensure optimal service delivery to meet the needs of this priority population throughout the pandemic.

  • Working with assumptions in international development program evaluation
  • Evaluator Perspective
  • Enhancing the inclusion of gender and sexually diverse populations in evaluation: Reflections grounded in practice

    Evaluators are committed to practice that is high quality and conducted ethically. Despite this, gender and sexually diverse populations are not always adequately considered in evaluation practice. Ensuring fuller inclusion of gender and sexually diverse people is required to give effect to human rights obligations and to enable comparatively poorer wellbeing outcomes for these groups to be addressed. Based on our experience conducting evaluation (and research) with both general populations and gender and sexually diverse populations, we suggest a need to build inclusive practice among evaluators. To guide inclusive evaluation practice, we outline three domains for consideration – terminology and language, processes of research inclusion and implications of inclusion. These are not offered as a checklist but as a way to encourage reflexive practice among evaluators. Given evaluators are often concerned with promoting equity and social justice, we are hopeful that actions taken by evaluators can enhance the inclusion of gender and sexually diverse people in evaluation activities and contribute to better wellbeing outcomes for them.

  • Checking up to keep on track: An Aboriginal-led approach to monitoring well-being

    This article reports the process of identifying a well-being monitoring and evaluation approach for a community development programme with Aboriginal Native Title Holders in Northern Australia. The process involved the use of an empowerment-based Aboriginal Family Well-Being framework to enable Native Title Holders to articulate domains of value to their local community. These domains aligned with an existing culturally sensitive Aboriginal well-being survey tool which the Native Title Holders saw as relevant for their use. The attempts to provide Aboriginal people with a broader and more long-term perspective from which to judge the value of short-term projects is a different approach to traditional programme assessment (monitoring and evaluation). It aims to provide Aboriginal people with a more relevant frame from which they can make judgements about the worth of any programme or project in their location, supporting local control and decision-making. Potentially it provides Aboriginal people with the information from which to advocate for other supports and to assess the value of Government and other projects.

  • Thinking with complexity in evaluation: A case study review

    Adopting complexity thinking in the design, implementation and evaluation of health and social development programmes is of increasing interest. Understanding institutional contexts in which these programmes are located directly influences shaping and eventual uptake of evaluations and relevant findings. A nuanced appreciation of the relationship between complexity, institutional arrangements and evaluation theory and practice provides an opportunity to optimise both programme design and eventual success. However, the application of complexity and systems thinking within programme design and evaluation is variously understood. Some understand complexity as the multiple constituent aspects within a system, while others take a more sociological approach, understanding interactions between beliefs, ideas and systems as mechanisms of change. This article adopts an exploratory approach to examine complexity thinking in the relational, recursive interactions between context and project design, implementation and evaluation. In doing so, common terms will be used to demonstrate the nature of shared aspects of complexity across apparently different projects.

  • Editorial
  • Evaluator Perspective
  • Navigating the awkward, challenging social context of evaluation

    Evaluation practice takes place in a particularly awkward and challenging social context due to the fear, resistance and anxiety that is often associated with evaluation. Navigating this social context is taxing for evaluators and has the potential to negatively impact their well-being. This article begins with an exploration of the positioning of qualitative and relational approaches within the evaluation field over time, showing that they have been increasingly acknowledged and now widely accepted as crucial to the practice of evaluation. More recent literature is then used to identify six social competencies that are essential to on-the-ground evaluation practice. These competencies are in allaying fear and anxiety, establishing rapport, building and maintaining professional credibility, recognising tacit social dynamics, preventing and managing coercion attempts, and preventing and managing hostility. The article then explores the implications of working in this social context for evaluator well-being. Difficulties around self-assessing competency levels, contending with a poor reputation, emotional labour and self-care, and limited research specific to these matters are discussed. This article posits that practising evaluators should routinely reflect and take active steps to not only improve their social competence but also maintain their own well-being.

Featured documents

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