Evaluation methodology

The overarching approach to the evaluation of Well North is through Rapid Cycle Evaluation (RCE). RCE provides ongoing feedback during the life of the programme, giving the opportunity for flexibility and adaptation in order to optimise results as the programme moves forwards.

Within the RCE approach, we will use Realist Evaluation methods which, unlike traditional forms of evaluation, ask key questions about the real situation:

  • What actually happened?
  • Why did it happen?
  • What were the specific circumstances in which it happened?
  • What evidence do we have that the outcome was due to the activity that took place?
  • Would the activity produce the same outcome in different circumstances?
  • Can the benefits of this activity be reproduced in a different setting?

Realist Evaluation begins with looking for evidence about the expected outcomes of the activity, and then looks at the context (environment, social and economic setting, etc.) in which the activities happen, the mechanisms (the specific actions that cause the actual effects) of the activity, and the outcome (the impact or effects) of the activity.

We can then find out whether the activity had:

  • The expected or desired beneficial effect
  • An unexpected beneficial effect
  • An unexpected detrimental effect
  • No meaningful effect.


Our evaluation will use a combination of Quantitative information (numbers-based measures) at individual, organisational and Pathfinder level, and Qualitative information (thoughts, descriptions and opinions), through surveys, interviews and focus groups, which can generate rich and detailed narratives about how individuals experience, understand and explain events that have occurred as a result of Well North.

The Well North Evaluation Team has developed a set of tools to collect all of this rich and complex information. These tools include:

  • Creative approaches to evaluation that can unearth important issues that are missed out by more conventional approaches and can be important for engagement and discovery.
  • Validated and standardised tools for collecting information that can allow comparable measures between and within areas, tailored specifically to the needs and requirements of the local population.
  • Participatory approaches to evaluation that use community researchers to gather information on the ground within the communities that Well North is transforming.


To find out more please contact the team at well.northevaluation@manchester.ac.uk