A Summary of the September 2016 Process Evaluation Short Course

By Dr Michelle Edwards

I attended the DECIPHer Short Course on Process Evaluation of Complex Interventions on 28th September 2016.

I’m currently working at DECIPHer in Cardiff as the manager of the PACERS (Physical Activity monitors in Exercise Referral Schemes) study, led by Dr Jemma Hawkins. The study is a feasibility study of a pilot randomised controlled trial of activity monitors being used in the National Exercise Referral Scheme in 8 local authority areas in Wales. The study includes a mixed-methods process evaluation to help assess feasibility, fidelity and acceptability of the intervention and the research processes. The findings will help guide decisions on whether the intervention could be implemented more widely in a full-scale trial.  The qualitative data we are currently gathering in the process evaluation is crucial to the study findings and has been useful in helping us understand the context in which the intervention is being delivered and experiences of the participants and exercise professionals delivering the intervention.

The one-day course provided valuable training and covered everything you need to know if you are currently working on or planning to design and conduct a process evaluation of a complex intervention. The day was split into eight sessions and covered everything from: why we need process evaluations, theories of change, fidelity, adaptation and context, relationships within research teams, resources needed, research questions and methods, analysing data and disseminating findings. The course leader Dr Graham Moore and teaching team (Dr Suzanne Audrey, Dr Rhiannon Evans and Dr Jeremy Segrott) delivered engaging and insightful sessions and we had the opportunity to undertake learning activities in smaller groups.

Completing the course helped me gain a comprehensive understanding of process evaluation methodology and will help in completing and disseminating my current process evaluation work. I would highly recommend the course to anyone who is interested in evaluating complex interventions being trialed in public health improvement and in health and social care settings.

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