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Multiple and mixed methods in formative evaluation: Is more better? Reflections from a South African study

Overview of attention for article published in BMC Medical Research Methodology, December 2016
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  • Above-average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (63rd percentile)
  • Above-average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (54th percentile)

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1 Facebook page

Citations

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Title
Multiple and mixed methods in formative evaluation: Is more better? Reflections from a South African study
Published in
BMC Medical Research Methodology, December 2016
DOI 10.1186/s12874-016-0273-5
Pubmed ID
Authors

Willem Odendaal, Salla Atkins, Simon Lewin

Abstract

Formative programme evaluations assess intervention implementation processes, and are seen widely as a way of unlocking the 'black box' of any programme in order to explore and understand why a programme functions as it does. However, few critical assessments of the methods used in such evaluations are available, and there are especially few that reflect on how well the evaluation achieved its objectives. This paper describes a formative evaluation of a community-based lay health worker programme for TB and HIV/AIDS clients across three low-income communities in South Africa. It assesses each of the methods used in relation to the evaluation objectives, and offers suggestions on ways of optimising the use of multiple, mixed-methods within formative evaluations of complex health system interventions. The evaluation's qualitative methods comprised interviews, focus groups, observations and diary keeping. Quantitative methods included a time-and-motion study of the lay health workers' scope of practice and a client survey. The authors conceptualised and conducted the evaluation, and through iterative discussions, assessed the methods used and their results. Overall, the evaluation highlighted programme issues and insights beyond the reach of traditional single methods evaluations. The strengths of the multiple, mixed-methods in this evaluation included a detailed description and nuanced understanding of the programme and its implementation, and triangulation of the perspectives and experiences of clients, lay health workers, and programme managers. However, the use of multiple methods needs to be carefully planned and implemented as this approach can overstretch the logistic and analytic resources of an evaluation. For complex interventions, formative evaluation designs including multiple qualitative and quantitative methods hold distinct advantages over single method evaluations. However, their value is not in the number of methods used, but in how each method matches the evaluation questions and the scientific integrity with which the methods are selected and implemented.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 4 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 82 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 82 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 13 16%
Researcher 13 16%
Student > Ph. D. Student 9 11%
Student > Doctoral Student 9 11%
Student > Postgraduate 6 7%
Other 16 20%
Unknown 16 20%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 20 24%
Nursing and Health Professions 14 17%
Social Sciences 7 9%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 4 5%
Philosophy 3 4%
Other 13 16%
Unknown 21 26%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 3. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 14 September 2018.
All research outputs
#6,811,259
of 13,514,418 outputs
Outputs from BMC Medical Research Methodology
#655
of 1,250 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#136,653
of 378,026 outputs
Outputs of similar age from BMC Medical Research Methodology
#61
of 134 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 13,514,418 research outputs across all sources so far. This one is in the 49th percentile – i.e., 49% of other outputs scored the same or lower than it.
So far Altmetric has tracked 1,250 research outputs from this source. They typically receive more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 8.9. This one is in the 47th percentile – i.e., 47% of its peers scored the same or lower than it.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 378,026 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 63% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 134 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 54% of its contemporaries.