An important aspect of our project is participatory evaluation, which permeates every level of the CoAct project. Most importantly, this approach involves participants of a project in deciding what should be evaluated in the project and which methods should be used to achieve this. In CoAct, this includes the work undertaken in the context of WP6, where the winners of an Open Call implement their own Citizen Social Science projects. To support the three grantees in the development and implementation of their co-evaluation design, CoAct project partner ZSI invited each of them to take part in an individualised workshop and develop a tailor-made plan that works in the context of each respective project.
The three workshops were held in March 2022 and followed a similar structure: The first part of the project focused on setting the scene. ZSI started off with a short input on participatory research project evaluation and impact assessment. This was followed by a presentation by the WP6 project representatives on their respective project, its current status, as well as any potential evaluation focus they could identify in their own research process.
The second part of the workshop entailed an interactive session, where a concrete evaluation plan was developed by the grantees with support from ZSI, utilising the online whiteboard tool Miro. The grantees first developed their impact vision, defining what success might look like at the end of their projects with regards to project leads, co-researchers, and the wider stakeholder community. As part of this, the activities and outputs of the project as well as potential co-evaluation opportunities were detailed, and common goals and expected impacts beyond the project laid out. From this, a co-evaluation focus and approach were chosen, taking care to keep within the means of each project.
From there, a project and evaluation timeline was laid out for each of the project teams, to serve both as a roadmap and as a visual reminder of the key activities and interventions.
Workshops were held with team members and, were possible, co-researchers.
Momchil Baev, Maria Atanasova Stoykova, Nikoleta Gabrovska, Konstantin Kunev
Single Step‘s project “Better Visibility of Trans and Non-Binary People in Research Work and on the Labor Market” strives to find out about the wellbeing of LGBTQ people and make visible their challenges in labor markets, to improve access to both the labor market and the health care system – especially surrounding the transition phase. Key project activities, such as the creation of a questionnaire for data collection and the joint analysis of results, as well as the elaboration of a set of recommendations, lend themselves well to the co-evaluation approach. Through this, the ways in which participation impacts the knowledge generated can not only be better understood, but also have a more lasting impact on affected communities. It is planned to discuss the results of the co-evaluation with stakeholder groups involved in the project as well, such as employers but also the labor market services.
In the joint elaboration of possible topics and starting points for co-evaluation in the workshop, we were able to identify the following focus points: 1) The reflection of the engagement of co-researchers, their experience as a kind of “boundary work,” and the question of what kind of sovereignty the creation of data on a problem could bring to the affected communities; and 2) the reflection of the engagement processes with employers to elaborate guidelines for tackling the challenges and creating benefits for the inclusive and responsive integration of LGBTQ people into work environments.
Janine Heinrich and Stephanie von Behr
Founderland’s project on “Gender Equality, Decent Work, and Economic Growth” is focused on supporting women of colour (WoC) entrepreneurs in the larger Berlin area to impact funding streams and heighten diversity in the German startup scene. The project employs methodologies such as interviews, workshops and trainings, as well as a dinner with ecosystem partners to engage WoC entrepreneurs and the wider stakeholder community. It aims to both develop an understanding of the needs of the citizen community and create momentum to affect positive change.
As the citizen community is intimately involved in the project and takes an active role in implementing all activities described above, they can be involved in co-evaluation activities throughout the project. To stay within the scope of the project, it was decided to adapt the interview guide to invite interviewees to share their experiences and reflect on the interviews. Furthermore, an additional workshop / focus group with co-researchers will be implemented to gain their perspectives. To facilitate the process, potential questions to engage co-researchers on were defined jointly, looking both backwards and forwards in the research process. A special focus was laid on creating space for debriefing for the co-researchers.
Women on Top
Stella Kasdagli, Ioanna Profyri, Maro Gounari, Maria Xanthopoulou, Pinelopi Theordorakakou, Eva Papadopoulos
Women On Top’s mission is the economic empowerment of women. In their Citizen Social Science project “Digital Effects: The Impact of the Accelerated Digitization of Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Professional Lives of Women in Greece & Cyprus,” they co-created a study to gain insights into how women in Greece were impacted by remote work and the digitalization of their professional lives during the pandemic. They put specific focus on including women who are currently less visible at the workplace, especially unemployed women, women with disabilities, women in remote areas, and women with increased caretaking responsibilities.
Women on Top achieves good integration of co-researchers in the design of the research from the very beginning, and continues to apply co-evaluative feedback loops throughout the process. Within their research team, they reached a very good mix of expertise, with knowledge from the field complemented by scientific expertise. Furthermore, the research team already had a clearly defined Theory of Change that laid out impacts on an individual, community, and societal level, to achieve an overarching goal of better supporting women to leverage the digital transformation in the workplace. To this end, the research plan includes the co-design and dissemination of a quantitative survey, followed by two focus groups and 3 individual interviews with representatives from the wider stakeholder community. Finally, in two joint workshops, their co-researchers are involved in the synthesis of results and the co-creation of concrete policy and practice proposals. Women on Top chose to focus on reflecting these three activities – the survey co-design, the focus groups, and the joint data analysis – as focus points of the co-evaluation, making sure to include the visions and objectives of co-researchers along the way and letting them inform the process.