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Wednesday, September 19 • 4:30pm - 5:00pm
The potential for system level change: Addressing political and funding level factors to facilitate health promotion and disease prevention evaluation

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Joanna Schwarzman (Monash University), Ben Smith (The University of Sydney; Monash University), Adrian Bauman (The University of Sydney), Belinda Gabbe (Monash University), Chris Rissel (NSW Ministry of Health), Trevor Shilton (National Heart Foundation, Western Australia)

Despite the known importance of evaluating prevention initiatives, there are challenges to conducting any evaluation, and efforts can fall short in terms of quality and comprehensiveness. Evaluation capacity building research and strategies have to date focused on individual and organisational levels. However, the factors acting to influence evaluation practice at the level of the prevention system have not been explored. 

We conducted a national mixed-methods study with 116 government and non-government organisations that sought to identify the factors that influence evaluation practice in the prevention field. Participating organisations took part in three phases of data collection. These were qualitative interviews (n=40), a validated evaluation practice analysis survey (n=216, 93% response rate) and audit and appraisal of two years of evaluation reports (n=394 reports). 

In this presentation we focus determinants of evaluation practice at the prevention system level. We found the system played a key role in the demand for evaluation, however it also presented significant challenges, particularly through time-limited funding agreements and mismatched expectations of policy makers and funded agencies. The political and funding contexts impacted on the resources available for prevention programs and the purpose, scope and reporting requirements for evaluation. We also found some prevention organisations were proactive in negotiating and modifying elements of the political, contextual and administrative requirements to improve the conditions for evaluation. Other organisations with less evaluation capacity, resources and experience were not in a position to engage in advocacy to the same degree.

Evaluation capacity building is an increasingly important component of many evaluator's roles, and there are still important gains to be made within prevention organisations and government agencies. This research builds on insights concerning organisational level influences, and can guide evaluators, practitioners and polic

avatar for Joanna Schwarzman

Joanna Schwarzman

PhD Candidate, Monash University
I'm in the final stages of completing my PhD research at the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University. Over the last three years I've been working to identify and understand the factors that influence evaluation practice in health promotion and disease prevention... Read More →

Wednesday September 19, 2018 4:30pm - 5:00pm AEST
Chancellor 5