186501 Key concepts for conducting community-based participatory evaluation in social change projects: Theoretical foundations in the Handbook for Assessing Social Change in Health

Monday, October 27, 2008: 8:30 AM

Jeremiah Mock, MSc, PhD , School of Nursing, Department of Community Health Systems, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Carolyn Jenkins, DrPH, FAAN , College of Nursing, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
Community-based participatory research (CBPR) projects that focus on creating social change to improve health can face challenges in evaluating their effectiveness changing communities, systems, and change agents. The Handbook for Assessing Social Change in Health was created through research on these challenges in cooperation with four REACH 2010 projects. The author reviewed cooperating projects' progress reports, observed their activities, conducted semi-structured interviews with staff, and met community members. Additionally, the author improved the Handbook while providing technical assistance to the REACH Charleston and Georgetown Diabetes Coalition (CGDC) who field-tested the Handbook. We found that CBPR projects face evaluation challenges partly because of the inherent complexity of communities, systems, and change agents. We also found that community members, health professionals, and affiliates in CBPR partnerships need better access to time-tested anthropological concepts to assess social change and causality. Partners in CBPR projects benefit from having a clear, shared understanding of key concepts: 1) thinking holistically about how people's health is shaped by their context in communities, systems, and relationships with change agents; 2) conceptualizing precisely central terms (e.g., “community”); 3) seeing change as non-linear and of different types; 4) using the “culture” concept as an idea-generating tool; 5) investigating change inductively and iteratively; 6) mastering the art of asking productive questions; 7) constructing a logical framework for tracking change; 8) using triangulation methods to analyze data; and 9) applying tests of causality. The Handbook has helped CGDC understand these concepts and provided a useful framework for CGDC to apply these concepts.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify challenges in conducting community-based participatory evaluation. 2. List key concepts that can advance evaluation in CBPR projects. 3. Discuss additional challenges CBPR projects can face in evaluation.

Keywords: Evaluation, Participatory Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: PhD in medical anthropology, teach courses in evaluation, published peer-reviewed articles on evaluation, author of the Handbook on Social Change in Health
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.