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Evaluating Communication Programmes, Products and Campaigns: Training workshop


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A one day workshop on evaluating communication programmes, products and campaigns. The main steps and methods are covered with real life examples given. This workshop was originally conducted by Glenn O'Neil of Owl RE for Gellis Communications in Brussels in October

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Evaluating Communication Programmes, Products and Campaigns: Training workshop

  1. 1. Evaluating Communication Programmes, Products and Campaigns: 1 day training workshop for communication professionals Glenn O’Neil Workshop originally conducted for Gellis Communications ( in Brussels on 30 October 2009
  2. 2. Schedule 1. Introduction & definitions 2. Five steps of evaluation 3. Campaign evaluation methodology 4. Programme evaluation methodology 5. Product evaluation methodology 6. Reporting on communications evaluation 2
  3. 3. Training objective Communication professionals understand the key concepts of communications evaluation and thus increase their effectiveness in managing evaluation aspects of their projects! 3
  4. 4. What is evaluation? “Evaluation is the systematic assessment of the operation and/or the outcomes of a program or policy compared to a set of explicit or implicit standards, as a means to contributing to the improvement of the program or policy” source: “Evaluation”, by Susan Weiss, (1998) “A form of research that determines the relative effectiveness of a public relations campaign or program by measuring program outcomes (changes in the levels of awareness, understanding, attitudes, opinions, and/or behaviours of a targeted audience or public) against a predetermined set of objectives that initially established the level or degree of change desired” source: “Stacks, D. (2006). Dictionary of Public Relations Measurement and Research. Institute for Public Relations.” 4
  5. 5. What is communications? Programmes, projects, campaigns and activities that are dedicated to the management of communications between an organisation and its publics Source: Grunig, J. (ed.) (1992). Excellence in Public Relations and Communications 5
  6. 6. What is communications? – A programme is an organised set of communication activities based on target audiences, themes or functions running continuously or for long periods – A campaign is an organised set of communications activities, directed at a particular audience usually within a specified period of time to achieve specific outcomes – A product is an individual object, such as a publication, website or video created to support a communication activity 6
  7. 7. Aim of communications? 7
  8. 8. What can communications change? – What is communications attempting to change? What are the effects desired? – How can these effects be categorised? – How can these effects be measured? 8
  9. 9. When to evaluate? Formative evaluation Process evaluation Summative evaluation Intermediate evaluation Outcome evaluation Mid-term evaluation Ex-post evaluation Activity Impact evaluation Formative evaluation Monitoring (not evaluation!) Baseline evaluation Ex-ante evaluation Appraisal Different terms that mean the same thing! 9
  10. 10. Communications evaluation design Post only T E Pre-post E T E True & constructed E E cohort studies T E E Time series E E T E E Field E T E experiments E E Meta-analyses E T E T E E T E E T E 10
  11. 11. Evaluating Communication Programmes, Products and Campaigns 2. Five steps of evaluation Glenn O’Neil
  12. 12. Five steps of an evaluation All evaluations, communications or otherwise, follow similar steps in how they are carried out: Planning Creation Management Analysis Presentation 12
  13. 13. Five steps of an evaluation Creation • Designing the evaluation methods • Designing the templates and tools • Designing final report outline Planning • Creating inception report • Refining inception report Management • Creating the evaluation framework • Testing the templates and tools • Selecting the evaluation methods • Collecting the data & sample • Managing the data • Consulting with client • Establishing the team • Determining the timeframe • Determining the deliverables • Creating the workplan Analysis • Preliminary desk review • Analysing and interpreting the results • Formulating conclusions Presentation • Creating recommendations • Presenting the final report • Writing the final report • Disseminating the final report • Submitting the final report • Promoting the final report • Creating follow-up mechanisms (e.g. steering group) 13
  14. 14. Five steps of an evaluation – Which steps are usually done well? – Which steps are usually done less well or skipped over? 14
  15. 15. Evaluating Communication Programmes, Products and Campaigns 3. Campaign evaluation methodology Glenn O’Neil
  16. 16. Two types of campaigns Advocacy campaign Public information campaign 16
  17. 17. Evaluating campaigns – In theory, campaigns are easier to evaluate than programmes – Where do you start if you have been asked to evaluate a campaign? 17
  18. 18. Theory of change – A good starting point is to map out the “theory of change” – The theory of change shows the pathway from inputs to impact What was this campaign trying to achieve? Inputs Activities Outcomes Impact 18
  19. 19. Example: Theory of change Inputs Activities Activities Organisation-led Partners-led Planning of Communication tools Adaptation & production campaign goals and of campaign material Artistic projects (film, activities cartoon, book, poster) Special events & conferences Preparation of Special events & campaign materials conferences Grassroots mobilisation Consultation and Global day briefing of campaign Media campaign partners Media campaign Web campaign Web campaign Training programme 19
  20. 20. Example: Theory of change Outcomes Outcomes Outcomes Impact Alliances Awareness Action People are Stimulated debate, protected and Increased awareness of spurred action and empowered to Network actively human rights in reaffirmed commitment realise their participated in the general amongst of governments, civil rights campaign rights holders society, educational, cultural and human Engaged multiple rights institutions stakeholders in the campaign at the country level & Helped bridge gaps in globally HR implementation at the national level Garnered further support for the organization 20
  21. 21. Evaluation framework – The “theory of change” assists in clarifying the objectives of the campaign – The next step would be to create the evaluation framework – the link from objectives/outcomes to indicators to evaluation methods 21
  22. 22. Evaluation framework - example Campaign Proposed Means of Selection frame Outcomes Indicators verification (evaluation tools) 6. Increased association of - Change to level of -Online panel study of organisation as key association of individuals to assess -individuals recruited actor for today’s individuals changes of online ecological association challenges -Change to level of visibility in the media - Street polls in major - urban population of the organisation cities(voxpop) - Event attendance - key events statistics and feedback - Number of mentions - Selection of print of organisation and and online media other key words in the media and online - Number of visitors - Campaign portal to campaign portal 22
  23. 23. Evaluation methods – Standard evaluation methods are used in campaign evaluation…in combination with methods particularly adapted for campaigns and communications programmes – A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods is recommended 23
  24. 24. Evaluation methods Standard Adapted Surveys Expert reviews Interviews Content analysis Panels Media monitoring Focus groups Web metrics Case studies Tracking mechanisms Observation studies Network mapping We focus on these methods as they are special to communications! 24
  25. 25. Expert review – A specialist examines a communication activity or product and provides an assessment – Assessment is made often against best practices or standards A brochure is compared to the corporate identity guidelines of an organisation A website is measured against usability standards 25
  26. 26. Expert review - example Your Comparative Comparative Comparative organisation organisation A organisation B organisation C High-level design decisions and 57% 71% 71% 71% strategy Content design 62% 85% 73% 93% Navigation and search 59% 87% 84% 94% Content presentation 59% 86% 86% 93% General design aspects 45% 95% 90% 92% Overall compatibility 58% 86% 83% 92% Compatibility of organisation web tool and comparative tools with ISO usability standard 26
  27. 27. Content analysis – Media reports, documents or other sources are analysed and categorised to identify trends and patterns – Content analysis assists in identifying preference, priorities, trends, etc. 27
  28. 28. Content analysis - example Theme (Question) Category No. of posts Keywords Policy in the Middle East research 110 Middle East, Jordan, Iran, participation Rwanda, research, quotas, gender, Policy in Rwanda research 89 leadership Policy and gender research 88 gender, legislation Careers in policy work advise 55 consultancy, careers Heads of state and policy research 22 research, leadership Upcoming elections & policy advise 18 Ecuador, elections, quotas Indicators for measuring policy advise 13 policy, research, evaluation, Peru Policy and representation advise 5 Congo, representation Policy development advise 1 New Zealand, development Content analysis of postings in online forum 28
  29. 29. Content analysis - example Comparison of media releases & updates by crises Crisis one Crisis two Crisis three Day of crisis 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 1 square = 1 media release or update 2 squares = 2 media releases or updates issued on that day issued on that day 29
  30. 30. Media monitoring – Media monitoring measures visibility of an issue or organisation in the media – Most monitoring counts mentions of keywords in a pre-selected group of media using automated software – Media monitoring can be an indication of levels of awareness amongst publics – but it is not a replacement! 30
  31. 31. Media monitoring - example % of coverage 31
  32. 32. Media monitoring - example No. of articles 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 ly v v n n g b ay t c c ne ar ril pt oc no no ja ja de de fe au ju ap m se m ju Campaign 2008/9 Campaign 2005/6 32
  33. 33. Web metrics – Web metrics is data collected by automated software on visits and other actions on web sites – This can be both for an organisation’s website or a sector – Web metrics can measure different variables including interests, preferences, interaction and online behaviors 33
  34. 34. Web metrics - example Language – no. articles (%) Language of visitors (%) English 90 69 Chinese 6 15 Russian 3 4 French 0.5 3 German -- 2 -- Spanish 2 Other -- 5 Combination of content analysis (language content) with web metrics (language of visitors per computer settings) for online portal 34
  35. 35. Tracking mechanisms – Tracking mechanisms record actions taken on issues, policies, legislation, etc. – Tracking mechanisms are usually manually tracked on standard forms in a systematic manner Recording how many partners join a campaign Tracking and recording the number of business leaders that speak out on an issue 35
  36. 36. Tracking mechanisms - example Campaign year 36
  37. 37. Network mapping – Network mapping measures the relations and flow between people, ideas and organisations – Network mapping is useful in measuring growth of networks and interconnectivity between publics and issues 37
  38. 38. Network mapping - example Conference participants – networks Before After
  39. 39. Network mapping - example Legend No content Mostly out-of-date Mostly up-to-date Size of square indicates number of visits Connecting lines indicate users have visited both directories Thickness of connecting line indicate number of users that have visited both directories Network map of directories of online portal combining web metrics (number of visits per directory), content analysis (data updated or not) and user survey data (visits to which directories)
  40. 40. Evaluating Communication Programmes, Products and Campaigns 4. Programme evaluation methodology Glenn O’Neil
  41. 41. Programme evaluation – This type of evaluation examines a series of communication activities grouped under a programme, for example: By target audience: communication programme aimed at young people By function: online communication programme By theme: communication programme on health policy 41
  42. 42. Evaluation steps – The evaluation steps are the same as for campaign evaluation, but will normally be over a longer period (2 – 6 months) Planning Creation Management Analysis Presentation – More consultation and interim meetings with the client are usually built into the evaluation planning 42
  43. 43. Programme evaluation Programmes are typically more difficult to evaluate than campaigns because: – They are often on rolling timeframes with no clear end – They often have unclear or very broad objectives – They often lack an institutional memory on past activities and achievements However, organisations increasingly need to evaluate such programmes! 43
  44. 44. Programme evaluation – A similar methodology can be applied as to campaigns – Determining the programme’s objectives and defining the evaluation framework are key 44
  45. 45. Programme evaluation Programme evaluation can focus on three distinct areas: – Process: how has the programme been managed? – Outcomes: what has the programme achieved? – Impact: what has the programme contributed to overall? Programme evaluations can combine elements of all three! 45
  46. 46. Evaluation Framework Questions for completing the evaluation framework: – Are programme objectives documented? – Does any baseline data exist? – Has any programme monitoring being done? – What is the balance between “outcome”, “process” and “impact” evaluation questions? Objectives Indicators Tools Source /Questions 46
  47. 47. Evaluation methods Standard Adapted Surveys Expert reviews Interviews Content analysis Panels Media monitoring Focus groups Web metrics Case studies Tracking mechanisms Observation studies Network mapping Onsite visits 47
  48. 48. Onsite visits – In ongoing programmes operating across multiple countries, onsite visits are often included as an evaluation method – Onsite visits involve a combination of observation, interviews and discussions – An evaluator can observe directly a programme’s activities, discuss with its implementers and gain in-depth knowledge – Onsite visits add credibility to the evaluation findings 48
  49. 49. Evaluating Communication Programmes, Products and Campaigns 5. Product evaluation methodology Glenn O’Neil
  50. 50. Product evaluation – Product evaluation is a more narrower approach focusing on an individual item (or series of items) – This evaluation provides feedback on a product’s use and its contribution to a communication programme (or other type of programme) 50
  51. 51. Product evaluation – Different types of products can be considered including: • Promotional videos • Publications • Websites and online tools 51
  52. 52. Criteria for evaluation – Evaluation questions often include: • Is the product considered to be of high quality in terms of design, usability and content? • Is the product targeted to the right audiences? • Is the product available, accessible and distributed to the intended target audiences? 52
  53. 53. Criteria for evaluation – Evaluation questions often include (cont.): • Is the product used in the manner for which it was intended - and for what other unintended purposes? • What has the product contributed to broader communication and organizational goals? • What lessons can be learnt for improving future editions of the product and design, distribution and promotion in general? 53
  54. 54. Evaluation methods The evaluation methods have to be adapted to the type of product and can include: Surveys Expert reviews Interviews Content analysis Focus groups Web metrics Case studies Tracking mechanisms Observation studies Distribution statistics 54
  55. 55. Distribution statistics - example Fax Web National Promotional orders orders offices distribution 5% 25% 30% 40% Student / teacher NGOs Media Local partners 55
  56. 56. Mapping use - example Develop teaching Charts & tables used in Create presentations materials production for clients Used as guidelines for product design Resource Working tool Product Used for staff training Training Used by authorities Policy support to revise guidelines Used for training of Used by NGOs to national partners influence debates on regulations 56
  57. 57. Mini case study - example Capacity building for women in Uzbekistan, Central Asia Nargiz, portal member, Uzbekistan In Uzbekistan, Nargiz, a portal member is part of a group of 50 women who were preparing to run in parliamentary elections. For her, the portal has been a valuable source of support and information. “In the e-discussions I got important feedback on fundraising strategies and financing of campaigns. This information will be used!” Nargiz especially mentions an interesting experience from Mauritius, shared on the portal, which she can apply in her daily work at the Women’s NGO Forum of her country “The material on capacity building is also very useful for us. I hope that in the future, we can share more of our own resources with the network.” 57
  58. 58. Devising precise questions • In all communications evaluations, if an evaluation framework exists, it should be relatively easy moving from indicators to questions or criteria for collecting data • But these questions and criteria must be created, documented and shared with the persons undertaking the evaluation • Questions and criteria would normally be documented in templates and guides 58
  59. 59. Devising precise questions Extending the Evaluation Framework Objectives Evaluation questions Indicators Precise questions Are resources How often do you use the Portal facilitates being exchanged? - Level of usage of resource resource section? areas of website Have you contributed a global - Frequency and type of resources? exchange of By whom, what type, resources exchanged How have you used the resources within what regions - Instances of resources found on the and at which frequency? uses of resources Portal? - etc. We are here! 59
  60. 60. Evaluating Communication Programmes, Products and Campaigns 6. Reporting on communications evaluation Glenn O’Neil
  61. 61. Reporting and presenting – We have now jumped to the final phase of the evaluation Planning Creation Management Analysis Presentation – The presentation phase is often the most neglected of all the phases – Evaluation regularly fails in ensuring that people know of the findings and take action 61
  62. 62. Different presentation formats – Written report – Written summary (Word or PPT) – Scorecard or findings table – Video report 62
  63. 63. Creating readable reports A Good Evaluation Report is… A Weak Evaluation Report is… • Impartial • Repetitious • Credible • too long • Balanced • Unclear and unreadable • Clear and easy to understand • Insufficiently action oriented • Information rich • Lacking hard data and relying • Action oriented and crisp on opinion • Focused on evidence that • Poorly structured and lacking supports conclusions focus on key findings • Lacking comprehension of the local context • Negative or vague in its findings 63
  64. 64. Summary sheet: an example 64
  65. 65. Scorecard: an example 65
  66. 66. Findings table: Summary of the review’s key findings Expected Results Rating an example Outputs Eight directories of the CR established and Largely achieved accessible to potential users from the disaster management community worldwide. Eight directories of the CR stocked with relevant, Only partially achieved appropriate and up-to-date information on disaster management capacities. Outcomes Potential users from the disaster management Very limited achievement community worldwide learned of the CR. Potential users from the disaster management Very limited achievement community worldwide visited the CR and registered Users obtained information of use to them in one or Only partially achieved more of the eight directories of the CR. Users contributed information from their Very limited achievement organisations to one or more of the eight directories of the CR. Information found on the CR facilitated the rapid Very limited achievement identification of appropriate disaster management services. Information found on the CR contributed to the rapid Not achieved delivery of humanitarian emergency assistance. Impact Delivery of humanitarian emergency assistance improved. Not measured in this review 66
  67. 67. Video report: an example 67
  68. 68. Follow-up mechanisms Evaluations may require follow-up mechanisms to ensure that the findings are disseminated and acted upon, including: – Workshops with staff and donors to discuss findings – Steering committees to discuss findings and implementation – Plans of action based on findings and recommendations of the evaluation 68
  69. 69. A parting quote Scientific quality is not the principle standard; an evaluation should aim to be comprehensible, correct and complete, and credible to partisans on all sides Professor Lee Cronbach 69