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Frameworks for evaluating health research capacity strengthening: a qualitative study

Boyd, Alan, Cole, Donald C, Cho, Dan-Bi, Aslanyan, Garry and Bates, Imelda ORCID: (2013) 'Frameworks for evaluating health research capacity strengthening: a qualitative study'. Health Research Policy and Systems, Vol 11, e46.

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Background: Health research capacity strengthening (RCS) projects are often complex and hard to evaluate. In
order to inform health RCS evaluation efforts, we aimed to describe and compare key characteristics of existing
health RCS evaluation frameworks: their process of development, purpose, target users, structure, content and
coverage of important evaluation issues. A secondary objective was to explore what use had been made of the
ESSENCE framework, which attempts to address one such issue: harmonising the evaluation requirements of
different funders.

Methods: We identified and analysed health RCS evaluation frameworks published by seven funding agencies between 2004 and 2012, using a mixed methods approach involving structured qualitative analyses of documents, a stakeholder survey and consultations with key contacts in health RCS funding agencies.

Results: The frameworks were intended for use predominantly by the organisations themselves, and most were oriented primarily towards funders’ internal organisational performance requirements. The frameworks made limited
reference to theories that specifically concern RCS. Generic devices, such as logical frameworks, were typically used to document activities, outputs and outcomes, but with little emphasis on exploring underlying assumptions or contextual constraints. Usage of the ESSENCE framework appeared limited.

Conclusions: We believe that there is scope for improving frameworks through the incorporation of more accessible information about how to do evaluation in practice; greater involvement of stakeholders, following evaluation capacity building principles; greater emphasis on explaining underlying rationales of frameworks; and structuring frameworks so that they separate generic and project-specific aspects of health RCS evaluation. The third and fourth of these improvements might assist harmonisation.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: W General Medicine. Health Professions > Health Services. Patients and Patient Advocacy > W 84 Health services. Delivery of health care
WA Public Health > WA 20.5 Research (General)
WA Public Health > WA 30 Socioeconomic factors in public health (General)
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > International Public Health Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Tina Bowers
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2014 11:45
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2019 08:22


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