School of Health in Social Science

Facet 6: Establish what is/is not working

Establish what is/is not working well; make necessary adaptations/ refinements, & re-assess

We can assume with programmes not utilising monitoring and evaluation processes, that required strengthening adjustments to output are not frequently applied.


Close attention is required throughout the whole evaluation process to the aspects that are working well and those that need improving or removing altogether. This is the goal of a process evaluation and is vital for making decisions about how to move forward to ensure interventions are high quality and as successful as they can be. It is essentially a process of analysing different elements of the intervention, and being able to reflect honestly on the skills, knowledge, materials and methods used. The outcome evaluation contributes to this by demonstrating exactly what has changed and what has not as a result of the intervention, but cannot tell you why or how it led (or failed to lead) to change. The logic model and the theory of change underpinning the intervention need to be examined and perhaps refined. Practitioners will undoubtedly find that things don’t always go according to plan and it is important to capture this and consider how easy the intervention would be to replicate another time.

Many of the professionals in our study felt it was extremely important to be flexible and adapt to the different groups they work with. This is understandable and easy to evaluate if the flexibility and adaptations are planned in, but not so easy if changes are made in the process of delivering. For evaluation to be useful, it is important that any changes made in practice (that may be necessary) that deviate from planned activities/approaches are documented, including the reasons for change, and taken back for discussion with the rest of the team and/or the wider community of AWE professionals. It might be useful to identify core aspects of content and delivery that must be implemented in the same way, allowing for flexiblity in other areas. Evaluation Support Scotland has a range of templates to help with the documentation of changes or reflections on current practice (see Templates section).

Change record template:

There are various ways of ascertaining what is working well and what is not. Below are some questions that may prove useful when examining data and reflections on each element of the intervention: delivery, content/resources, monitoring data, qualitative data, quantitative data.

  1. To what extent were the aims achieved?
  2. What problems were encountered or can be identified?
  3. Is it possible to identify what led to success or lack of it
  4. Does it work better for certain groups than others?
  5. What are the next steps? What is missing?

Any subsequent changes to the intervention should be based on the accumulation of evidence. If something is working well, this should continue and decisions will need to be made regarding lack of success.

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