We worked with inFocus to design the first iteration of our Monitoring Evaluation and Learning Framework for Explore Adapt Renew. They shared some brilliant resources on how you can strengthen your MEL practice. This blogpost shares these resources below along with some others we have found useful.
During conversations with service managers and organisational leaders about the significance of "Belief in Long-term Change," a core principle of Asylum Early Action, they emphasised the importance of effective Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) systems and practice in order to:
- Analyse trends to plan responses
- Demonstrate impact to make the case for continued/new funding
- Ensure frontline staff, volunteers and service users understand why you are collecting
- data and feel part of this Create a culture of learning within the organisation
- Inform strategy and make the case for the direction of work with stakeholders
Read on for useful resources to get started and strengthen your MEL practice.
Creating a Theory of Change
A Theory of Change provides a clear explanation of how and why a desired change is expected to occur in a specific situation. It can be presented visually through a diagram, shared as a narrative or both. The purpose is to make the process and goal of the anticipated change easily understandable to everyone.
- A brief history of Theory of Change in 3 ½ minutes by inFocus - Watch Video
- We also like this video on Theory of Change by Born in Bradford project - Watch Video
- How to build a Theory of Change by NCVO - Read the guide
- Theory of Change - template on Miro
Building a monitoring & evaluation framework
A monitoring and evaluation framework involves careful planning to determine what aspects will be regularly monitored and what will be evaluated periodically. It also establishes how often these activities will occur and assigns responsibilities to specific individuals. The monitoring and evaluation framework outlines the methods for collecting, analysing, and reporting information, which in turn helps guide project decisions, prioritise areas of focus, and shape future directions.
- How to build a monitoring and evaluation framework by NCVO - Read the guide
Deciding on the indicators you are going to measure
Indicators are signs that we can measure or observe to confirm that something is happening or has been achieved. They can be numbers (qualitative) or descriptions (quantitative) and we might need different ways of collecting and analysing data to report on them.
- Find out more about indicators on pages 27-29 of the TDH Monitoring Guide
How to select data collection methods
There are lots of considerations to make when it comes to deciding the best and most appropriate methods for data collection. The guides below help you decide what is right for your organisation.
- inFocus have created this step by step, visual guide to help you select the right data collection methods for your project. View the guide
- This article by Scribblr explores the difference between qualitative and quantitative research and methods - Read the Article
- This guide by NCVO shares examples of different tools you can use to measure your impact, including participatory methods - Read the guide
Data analysis and using the findings
There is no point doing all the work to get to this stage, and collecting data from the people you work with unless you are going to make good use of it!
Your impact data can tell you what difference your work has made, what has gone well and where you can improve. Of course this evidence is also essential to demonstrate your impact to funders, when applying for funding and to influence stakeholders and make the case for a particular course of action.
- This guidance from NCVO takes you through analysing data, and reporting and communicating your findings - Read the guide.
- Decolonising evaluation: shiting from extraction to nourishment - Data Collective
- Early Action Neighbourhood Fund Learning Report: Evidence & Data