We believe research and evaluation is only useful if equity is at the forefront, and the results are used to inform decisions in an ongoing, timely way. While constituents with lived experience have unique insight into social problems, evaluation often privileges outside experts over community perspectives. As a result, the voices of those most impacted by programs and policies are often not heard or reflected in decision-making. This means that evaluations often base recommendations on incomplete, and worse, inaccurate information.
Research and evaluation processes should be responsive to community needs and goals, produce accurate results, and lead to actionable recommendations. Our unique approach to research and evaluation focuses not only on data collection and analysis but also on developing a customized evaluation strategy and plan for using data to inform learning and action. We work with our clients to clarify the motivation for a research and evaluation project and identify how to involve stakeholders, including constituents and community members, in different phases of the process.
See examples of our research and evaluation projects at our Featured Projects page.
Evaluation strategy development and planning
We work with organizations to strengthen the underlying theory and logic behind their work. Our team has helped dozens of social and public sector organizations build their theories of change and logic models and use these tools to inform comprehensive evaluation planning.
A logic model is a tool that provides a picture of how a program works and the key assumptions underlying a particular program or project design. Logic models link outcomes with program activities and processes and identify the assumptions undergirding change. We help organizations develop a logic model that captures information on program implementation and impact.
A theory of change is a strategic blueprint that outlines the ultimate change an organization is seeking to achieve and all the conditions that are needed to bring about that desired change. When developing an organizational theory of change, it’s critical to have a deep understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve. This requires thinking about the intended impact you seek, as well as the need you are trying to address and whose needs your programs are designed to engage and benefit. We help organizations develop a theory of change that considers these questions and links key components and services to desired outcomes. For more information on our theory of change process, please see our Theory of Change Overview Guide.
We help organizations develop comprehensive evaluation plans that include the following:
- Evaluation goals: Clearly defined goals for what organizations hope to gain from engaging in evaluation
- Key evaluation questions and indicators: Clearly defined questions that the evaluation will seek to answer
- Evaluation design: An overview of the proposed evaluation design and a discussion of the tradeoffs between feasibility and rigor in the choice of the design
- A detailed description of the methods and sampling strategy: A clearly articulated plan for how, and from whom, data will be collected.
- A data analysis and reporting plan: A clearly articulated plan for how data will be analyzed and reported, both to internal team members and external stakeholders
- Evaluation budget and timeline: The costs and projected timelines for the proposed evaluation services
ImpactED specializes in mixed-methods research and evaluation, leveraging quantitative and qualitative sources of data to help our clients learn about the implementation and impact of programs and policies.
- Develop a customized strategy and plan for research: We support organizations in refining research questions and developing a comprehensive plan to answer those questions.
- Collect and analyze data: We work with organizations to use existing data and/or collect new sources of qualitative and quantitative data to learn about key issues affecting the target population
- Use data to inform action: We help organizations develop plans to leverage research to inform internal programming as well as external communications
- Develop a customized strategy and plan for evaluation: We support organizations in developing a customized strategy for mapping program design and objectives and measuring progress towards key outcomes
- Collect and analyze data: We conduct rigorous evaluations that leverage qualitative and quantitative sources of data to understand the implementation and impact of programs, projects, and initiatives
- Use data to inform action: We help organizations develop data use plans that inform internal programmatic improvement and deliver high-quality reports that support organizations to tell their story of impact