What type of evaluation

While the language of evaluation can be confusing, there are generally considered to be three broad types of evaluations[1]Source: Adapted from Productivity Commission. 2019. Indigenous Evaluation Strategy, draft background paper, Table 2, and HM Treasury (UK). 2020. Magenta book: Central Government guidance on … Continue reading.

Evaluation typeWhen carried out?PurposeTypical questions
Process evaluation (aka formative)Early in the development or implementation of a policy or programTo understand the mechanisms at play, and to test assumptions. They can help improve a policy or program.How is the policy or program delivered?
Is it being delivered as intended?
Is it appropriately targeted?
How effective has implementation been so far?
What are the strengths and weaknesses?
Has the context influenced the delivery?
What can be learned?
Impact evaluation (aka summative or outcome)When the policy or program is matureTo judge the merit and impact of the policy or program. To learn lessons. To inform decisions about continuing, expanding, shrinking or stopping the policy or program.What difference did the policy or program make?
Has it achieved its objectives?
Has it improved outcomes?
How has it improved outcomes?
Did it affect different groups differently?
What can be learned?
Economic evaluationAt any timeTo quantify the value of policies and programs. To inform decisions.Was it worth it?
To whom did the benefits accrue? To whom did the costs accrue?
Is the policy or program the best use of resources?
To support ...Activities that health services can provide directly or through partnerships
Learning the history of the place
Hosting and attending cultural events
Being on Country
Facilitating conversations and Elders
Learning methods of caring for Country
Gathering resources from Country e.g. food, materials for making instruments
Regenerating bushland and gardens
Developing healing gardens and sensory gardens at sites such as health centres
Using resources from local Country or processes from local people for making items e.g. weaving
Spending time on Country and enjoying its benefits
CONNECTION TO CULTUREUnderstanding and acknowledging history of colonisation in local areas, processes truth-telling
Uncovering, recovering and discovering local cultures
Opportunities to share cultures including Aboriginal and western cultures; intercultural dialogues
Support people to be on Country
Facilitate conversations with Elders
Culturally informed assessment and cultural approach to symptoms
Opportunities for transfer of knowledge between generations
Leadership programs and youth leadership development, mentoring and role modelling to convey cultures, pass cultural on
Support to engage with Elders about local governance, treaty-making meetings and discussions
Attend cultural events
CONNECTION TO FAMILYAdvocacy with government agencies and legal systems for access to children, with support for each of the family members
Aboriginal Family Wellbeing Program
Access to local child and family support services
Access to childcare
Access to carer support
Access to respite care
Access to aged care
Healing programs
LinkUp and family history research
Supporting children to visit family in prisons and have communication with family in prisons
Open supports to family members
Support for kinship care
Support for processes of grieving
Support through others’ death including dying on Country, having access to cultural support, support for funeral attendances and during sorry business
Follow-up after sorry business
Supporting days of remembrance and of local significance – events and leaders
CONNECTION TO COMMUNITYSupporting community leaders to self-determine events, processes, days of significance, responses to issues
Invest in community relationships – with Traditional Owners, other Elders, organisations – empowering community and supporting ownership of events, knowledges and processes
Spend time at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community events
Work with communities to develop partnerships, Terms of Reference, Memorandums of Understanding, coming together to prioritise, collaborate on solutions
Support communities through sorry business, through process of dying and death, grieving and remembering
Take people to funerals
Celebrating community strengths and resources including natural resources, Elders, people and processes of significance
Making and building projects processes of community stimulating empowerment and ownership
Supporting mainstream community to understand and use anti-racism including It Stops With Me campaign
Programs or activities for leadership training that includes group facilitation skills
SPIRITUALITY/ANCESTORSYarning about how people experience spirituality, what people mean
Yarning about positive connections with other people including ancestors
Learn about local cultures and ones’ own cultures and their spirituality and processes
Participate in ceremony with Elders and/or in groups
Facilitate cleansing ceremonies, house smoking, after discharge from hospital or prison
Visiting sites of significance
Remembering days of significance and doing nurturing activities on those
Participating with others in events including to have a voice, have a say, express feelings
Remembrance ceremonies e.g. of significant Elders, people who have passed
Visiting and caring for gravesites, contributing to projects like headstone-making
Using arts, music, dance to express, share and be with others
Locally led healing programs
PHYSICAL WELLBEINGSupport health system navigation
Support engagement with ACCHO for regular health checks, immunisations, health promotion activities and follow-up
Link with GP and specialist care
Dental program
Drug and alcohol harm reduction programs, health promotion programs e.g. Ocsober, Dry July, and residential rehabilitation
Join group activities and challenges locally in the general community and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations
Meditation, Dadirri
Team sport, including football Knockouts, AFL Redi, #whereiskate
Deadly Choices programs
Using local resources like the beach, places to swim and walk as part of connecting to Country
Joining others for boomerang and spear making and throwing
MENTAL WELLBEINGAccess to processes to identify triggers and healthy responses
System buffering
Support mental health system navigation
Support culturally-informed assessment and risk re-assessment
Advocate for change of diagnosis where required
Access to multi-modal therapies for complex trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder
Addiction medicine and addiction support services including for drugs and alcohol, co-dependency, gambling, social media
Use of culturally appropriate tools, for example, the Aboriginal Resilience and Recovery Questionnaire
Support access to Elder-led, Traditional Custodian-led, and/or Aboriginal organisation-led healing and physical and spirituality programs
EMOTIONAL WELLBEINGProcesses and activities for identifying feelings and healthy responses
Culturally-informed assessment to understand emotional wellbeing
Feedback to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who do emotional wellbeing assessment and programs
Processes for expressing feelings e.g. arts, dance, music, theatre, writing
Support access to Elder-led, Traditional Custodian-led, and/or Aboriginal organisation-led healing and physical and spirituality programs
Peer support groups, gender-based groups, coming together with people with similar experiences
Peer support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff
Connection to physical activity and mental health programs


1 Source: Adapted from Productivity Commission. 2019. Indigenous Evaluation Strategy, draft background paper, Table 2, and HM Treasury (UK). 2020. Magenta book: Central Government guidance on evaluation, Table 2.2.

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