How to develop a theory-driven evaluation design; lessons learned from an adolescent sexual and reproductive health programme in West Africa

SB Van Belle, B Marchal, D Dubourg, G Kegels

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-article

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND: This paper presents the development of a study design modelled on the principles of theory-driven evaluation. It was used to evaluate an adolescent sexual and reproductive health intervention in Mali, Burkina Faso and Cameroon to improve continuity of care through the creation of networks of social and health care providers. Methods /design: Based on our experience and the existing literature, we developed a six-step framework for the design of theory -driven evaluations, which we applied in the ex-post evaluation of the networking component of the intervention. The protocol was drafted with the input of the intervention designers. The programme theory, the central element of theory-driven evaluation, was constructed on the basis of semi-structured interviews with designers, implementers and beneficiaries and an analysis of the intervention's logical framework. DISCUSSION: The six-step framework proved useful as it allowed for a systematic development of the protocol. We describe the challenges at each step. We found that there is little practical guidance in the existing literature, and also a mix up of terminology of theory-driven evaluation approaches. There is a need for empirical methodological development in order to refine the tools to be used in theory driven evaluation. We conclude that ex-post evaluations of programmes can be based on such an approach if the required information on context and mechanisms is collected during the programme.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBMC Public Health
    Volume10
    Pages (from-to)741
    Number of pages10
    ISSN1471-2458
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Keywords

    • B780-tropical-medicine
    • Health systems
    • Health care
    • Networks
    • Health services
    • Sexual health
    • Reproductive health
    • Interventions
    • Evaluation
    • Theory
    • Framework
    • Protocols
    • Review of the literature
    • Mali
    • Burkina Faso
    • Africa-West
    • Cameroon
    • Africa-Central

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