A five-step method

1. Inception

This first phase of the study is conducted solely within the evaluation team, with the researchers involved in the production of the outputs of the innovation.

  • Define the perimeter of the case study: timeline, stakeholders, territory.
  • Draft hypothesis for potential impacts: expected impacts or impacts already observed, using scientific literature, project documents or researchers’ knowledge.
  • Draft innovation story: first innovation story based on researchers’ knowledge of the field and documentation.
  • Draft hypothesis for the impact pathway: first impact pathway based on researchers’ knowledge of the field and documentation.

2. Participatory framing of the study

The evaluation team confronts its hypothesis with the views of the various stakeholders in the innovation process through a participatory workshop or individual interviews.

  • Refine the impact pathway hypothesis
  • Refine the innovation story
  • Establish a participatory list of impact descriptors: during a participatory workshop or individual interviews, stakeholders involved in the innovation process express what changes they have experienced (negative or positive) and how those changes could be accounted for. After collecting these descriptors the evaluation team translates them into impact indicators, in order to start data gathering.

3. Data collection

  • Identify and assess primary impacts by triangulating primary data, both qualitative and quantitative (from surveys, interviews or focus groups), and secondary data. In some cases use of multi-criteria analysis.
  • Identify and assess secondary impacts by triangulation of data gathering methods.

4. Impact assessment 

  • Consolidate the innovation story: gathering of evidence through documentation or interviews so as to strengthen the innovation story by triangulating sources of information.
  • Gather data on the impact pathway : conducting surveys, interviews or focus groups to account for the “boxes” of the impact pathways and the contribution of research to the impacts (arrows).

5. Participatory validation of results 

The evaluation team presents its findings to the innovation’s stakeholders through a participatory workshop.

  • Complete innovation story, impact pathway and impact assessment
  • Participatory validation of results.

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