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Community Pract. 2008 Sep;81(9):25-8.

The potential contribution of realistic evaluation to small-scale community interventions.

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Northumbria University.


This paper aims to inform the development and evaluation of small-scale community-based initiatives by describing an evaluation of one such health promotion programme. Realistic evaluation is an under-explored resource for practice development, particularly within the context of informing evidence-based practice. A combination of the context-mechanism-outcome framework and principles of health impact assessment were used in the evaluation of the programme. Telephone interviews and half-day sessions were utilised in order to conduct reviews of the programme's work with both providers and users. This approach engaged the practitioners in the process of evaluation in a way that was novel to them, and introduced the possibility of a stepped approach to outcomes achievement and measurement. The evaluation gave the practitioners the means to understand and effectively formulate which outcomes were most appropriate to their particular intervention, and to design the means to assess these in future.

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