Evaluation and Impact
Welcome to the Widening Participation Evaluation and Impact Team webspace.
We believe passionately in the power of evaluation to support effective project design, dynamic decision making and to tell insightful, evidence-based stories about the impact of the University’s Widening Participation access, success and career progression initiatives.
Our aim is to build the evaluation capacity of the teams and organisations involved directly or indirectly in the initiatives funded by the University’s Widening Participation Advisory Group (WPAG). This involves working with teams and also doing research into the latest methods of evaluation to ensure the University stays ahead of the sector curve.
Evaluation and Impact information Accordion
What does ‘building evaluation capacity’ mean?
- Building the capacity to do: supporting teams and individuals to deliver better quality evaluations and to generate robust evidence of the effectiveness of their initiatives and their longer-term impact on key beneficiaries;
- Building the capacity to use: supporting teams to mobilise this evidence to learn lessons, make better decisions and to compile into presentations, reports and other outputs to share best practice across the university and beyond.
How do we build evaluation capacity?
- By being accessible and offering tailored consultations to support individuals and teams to embed evaluation into their work and to provide expert advice on how to design, deliver and analyse evaluation to ensure it provides high-quality, robust and appropriate evidence.
- By delivering training and workshops to help individuals and teams develop their skills and confidence both in understanding the practice and use of evaluation.
- By nurturing a culture of evaluation and helping teams embed reflective practices in their work. This includes supporting teams to think critically about their delivery and how it contributes to their overarching goals, and working with decision makers to help them utilise evaluation insights to support decision making.
- By supporting the collation and analysis of data required to measure impact. This includes pre-arrival data via the Higher Education Access Tracker (HEAT), data relating to students once they arrive at the University and data relating to progression into careers and/or postgraduate research/taught.
What evaluation tools have we developed?
By creating new tools and resources to facilitate more effective evaluation, we can continue to build evaluation capacity. The tools we have developed so far include:
- The Widening Participation (WP) Indicator Bank – a list of indicators of student success drawn from academic literature that provide a starting point for evaluation design. The bank contains over 240+ items/statements pertaining to each of the indicators for use in surveys, feedback, focus groups, interviews and other types of evaluation.
- WP Database – a database where we track and collate student engagement with widening access, success and progression initiatives and combine with other internal data to explore the make-up of the WP student community and the impact of the support offered to them on key measures of success (e.g. continuation, completion, attainment and progression).
- WP Evaluation Tracker – a system the team has developed to track WP activity and related evaluation. This helps us monitor evaluation capacity and embeddedness at a macro level and provide tailored support to teams in advance of key delivery periods at the micro level. Support might include assistance with the design of a survey or focus group, the delivery of a series of interviews or the collation of insight and data to inform a report or study.
What can we do to help?
The team offers a range of support to help you implement evaluation into your projects and programmes at all stages of development and at different levels.
- One-to-one consultation – we provide tailored support with the design, implementation and use of evaluation. This can link to project planning and delivery, strategic considerations and/or individual/team practice.
- Team workshops or meetings – we work with teams to embed evaluation in their work and support teams to ensure they have the capacity, knowledge and skills required to deliver effective evaluation.
- Training and online modules – we provide training to help people become more confident in the delivery and use of evaluation.
- Evaluation project work – we can deliver evaluation projects on a range of questions linked to inequality, student educational outcomes and widening access, success and progression; this might include the design, delivery and analysis of surveys, focus groups and/or interviews etc. and the translation of findings into reports/presentations.
- Sharing insight and knowledge – we believe in the importance of sharing good practice and insights with others. To that end we organise a number of opportunities for knowledge sharing, including our Lancaster University Social Mobility Symposium and the Widening Participation Forum meetings.
- Collating, managing and analysing data – we are here to help with any of your data collation and analysis needs. We are particularly focussed on data relating to inequality, social mobility and student outcomes, this includes inputting and managing your HEAT data and with tracking student engagement with your widening access, success and progression activities.
How to contact the team?
You can get in touch using our team email address: email@example.com or with a member of our team directly:
Matthew Pawelski, Evaluation and Impact Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessie Whaite, Evaluation and Impact Officer: email@example.com
Caroline Rouncefield, Evaluation and Impact Assistant: firstname.lastname@example.org
Louise Aspinall, Evaluation and Impact Assistant: email@example.com