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Int J Res Nurs. 2012 Feb 2;3(1):1-7.

Evaluation of an Emerging Research Center: Lessons Learned.

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  • 1Department of Public Health Sciences, John A Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA.



Rigorous evaluation assures that research endeavors meet their purpose and achieve stated goals. This is especially true for federally funded exploratory research centers, which tend to be more complex due to the involvement of multiple, interdisciplinary investigators. This study provides an overview of the approach used to develop an evaluation strategy and reports the lessons learned during the initial development of the Center for Ohana Self-Management of Chronic Illness (COSMCI) at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene. The COSMCI is composed of an interdisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners and aims to advance knowledge in the field of self management of chronic disease in the community setting.


A systematic approach was utilized that included formative and summative strategies for ongoing evaluation. The problem was solved by addressing five key concerns: (1) development of research structure, (2) observing the process of the research pilot projects, (3) scholarly activity of COSMCI faculty, (4) dissemination and translation and (5) sustainability prospects. The method of research included formulating process strategies and determine if the plans for developing the Center were followed and whether these plans were effective. Interviews were also conducted at year one and at mid-point though the project.


Themes that emerged from our evaluation included inclusion, timelines, realistic expectations, ongoing evaluation and preparing for changes in the team. This provided timely recognition of successes and challenges and facilitated a rapid response for interventions especially during the early development stage of the center.


Effective development of a successful Center is highly dependent upon having a strong evaluation process in place that can inform ongoing development. An exploratory research center requires ongoing evaluation that allows for celebration of successes, as well as early identification of problems and rapid response.

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