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Process evaluation and policy: presenting to GSR

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Rachel Brown and Rhiannon Evans recently taught a DECIPHer short course to researchers from Welsh Government. Here are Rachel’s thoughts on the day.

In March, myself and Rhiannon Evans delivered DECIPHer’s one-day course on ‘Process Evaluation of Complex Interventions’ to a group of 20 Social Researchers from Welsh Government, after a request from them for a bespoke event. This highly successful course has been running for several years now as part of DECIPHer’s teaching programme. It has been attended by practitioners, academics and policy makers from the UK and beyond, as well as being delivered in multiple locations, including Germany, Denmark and others. DECIPHer has delivered bespoke courses from our Short Course programme previously but this was our first time for ‘Process Evaluation’.

Although we operate in different research settings, there is much common ground and benefit to be gained from us coming together to learn and share expertise

DECIPHer has a long-standing and close working relationship with Welsh Government Social Research and Information (GSR), including projects such as the CHETS Wales 2 and 3 studies, the evaluation of the Strengthening Families 10-14 Programme and much more, and it was a great opportunity for us to continue to support their work. For myself, it was lovely to see some old colleagues again, after spending almost a year on secondment in GSR after completion of my PhD in DECIPHer. It also presented an opportunity for us to consider how our teaching on Process Evaluation can be most effective and supportive to research staff in an environment different to our own, where policy processes and timescales are profoundly impactful on ways of working and pragmatic considerations are hugely important.

The day was a success and involved much stimulating discussion of the use of Process Evaluation in policy settings. Although we operate in different research settings, each with its own pressures and ways of working, there is much common ground and benefit to be gained from us coming together to learn and share expertise. One delegate offered these thoughts on the day:

Process evaluation is becoming ever more present in the work undertaken by Government Social Researchers in Welsh Government. This was a really useful course for researchers and policy makers alike and regardless of their experience of process evaluation. There was much useful information on logic modelling and thinking about the approaches to this for new interventions and existing programmes.

What was particularly useful was to consider the mechanisms and motivations underpinning the logic model as well as the main components. Additionally, the section on research questions was also very useful. Both the trainers were excellent in terms of presentation style and knowledge on the subject area. (Attendee – Welsh Gov. Social Research and Information)

Further information on our 2019 Process Evaluation course, as well as the rest of our Short Course Programme, can be found on our Short Course page, including details for booking on forthcoming events. If you’d like any other information about these, or any have bespoke course requests, please contact Zoe MacDonald at