Evaluation

We are developing evaluation toolkits to help those working in the field of cohesion and integration to evaluate their work better. Meanwhile, here are some tips on evaluation and links to existing resources.

Evaluation challenges

Those of us working in the field of cohesion and integration often face challenges when it comes to measuring the impact of our work. Organisations are often small and face financial constraints and other pressures. They often have limited resources to expend on evaluation and it can be difficult to choose to invest in this area when there are so many other pressing needs. Cohesion and Integration projects are often seeking to bring about subtle changes that can be difficult to quantify – such as changing people’s attitudes and behaviour, or helping people to feel more confident in their surroundings – and this change can happen over long periods in ways that are challenging to measure. And sometimes the impact of a project is only felt when a particular event happens, for example a trusted network to support cohesion can in a crisis or emergency be mobilised to calm local tensions and quickly connect community activists and leaders.

Pressure from funders and others to prove the impact of our work can feel like a burden. Certainly, more work needs to be done to increase the awareness of the challenges and complexity that those of us working in this field face when it comes to measuring the outcomes of the work we do.

 Why evaluation?

Despite the challenges, evaluation can be an extremely fruitful and rewarding process. If done well, it can both fulfil the requirements of funders, and provide opportunities for us to reflect on our work and improve the quality, creativity and impact of what we do. All of us working in this field need to do more to measure our impact, so that others can learn from our work, and, crucially, so that we can make the case for investment in this long term ‘social glue’ work. We hope that, through the ongoing work of COIN, we will be able to support you with this process. In the long-term we are seeking to build a strong evidence base so that we can strengthen the support that organisations working in this important area receive. In the meantime we have provided some basic guidance below.

Some common questions

What is meant by 'data'?

How do I design a data collection system?

When and how should I collect data?

What do people mean by a 'baseline' questionnaire?

How do I design a good evaluation form?

How do I present my data well?

What is a Theory of Change?

What is an 'indicator'?

Are there a set of standard indicators for cohesion and integration work?

Links to further helpful evaluation resources

The following resources are helpful guides for monitoring and evaluating your work. Click on the link and you will be taken to our resource centre, which includes a summary page telling you more about each resource.

Helpful ‘hands-on’ and practical guidance

Paul Hamlyn Foundation Evaluation Resource Pack

NCVO Guidance on impact and Evaluation

Evaluating community projects: A practical guide (published by Joseph Rowntree Foundation)

Practical Monitoring and Evaluation: A Guide for Voluntary Organisations

Social Integration Measures (as identified by the Greater London Authority’s – GLA Intelligence Unit)

Community cohesion: Seven Steps (published by the Home Office)

Qualitative Research (produced by Search for Common Ground)

Reflective Peacebuilding: A Planning, Monitoring and Learning Toolkit 

 

In-depth explorations of measuring cohesion and integration

Indicators of Integration final report (published by the Home Office)

‘What Works’ in Community Cohesion

Leicester Community Cohesion Evaluation and Assessment Framework