Monitoring is a key element of the participatory evaluation process. It can be difficult, particularly in terms of timing. The monitoring process should begin at the earliest stages of a project, but it can take time for project results to be achieved, and it can be difficult to identify when monitoring needs to be completed to meet project deadlines. In addition, on-going monitoring requires constant adaptation between the monitoring process and the project objectives.

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Date: November 2017-2020

This work has been funded through the ALICE project. ALICE is a project funded in 75% by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the umbrella of INTERREG Atlantic Area with the application code: EAPA_261/2016. The 11 partners involved in the project are from Portugal, Spain, Northern Ireland, France, The Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. The three-year project started in November 2017 has cost 3 million euros with 25% covered by the beneficiary partners.

Credits: Denis Bailly, Johanna Ballé, Klervi Fustec, Juliette Herry, Michel Lample, Manuelle Philippe.

Objectives of monitoring the engagement process

Five main objectives have been identified in the monitoring process of a participatory assessment:

  1. Measure the effectiveness of the participatory process by elaborating indicators of engagement.
  2. Learn and capitalise from experience – what has worked and what needs to be improved- and listing the outcomes of the project.
  3. Give feedback to stakeholders, and, in particular, demonstrate their participation in the participatory process.
  4. Provide feedback to researchers to make changes and improvements if needed.
  5. Be transparent in the use of public money.

There is no single methodology to monitor stakeholder engagement, it depends on the objectives of the evaluation. The monitoring process may be carried out by an external expert or a member of the project team and may or may not be built in a participative way. Participatory monitoring is an option that aims at involving all stakeholders. Nevertheless, it is costly and time consuming and should be considered according to the outcomes that it could provide.

Phasing the monitoring process

Monitoring the evaluation process can be initiated at various stages of the project:

  • A the start of the project: initiating the monitoring process at this stage ensures that it fits the objectives of the project and gathers data for comparison.
  • Throughout the project: in this case, the monitoring process helps to ensure that the participatory process is meeting its objectives and, if necessary, allows changes and adaptation. It is also a way of carrying on the engagement process.
  • At the end of the project: at this stage, the monitoring process evaluates whether the engagement process has fulfilled its objectives. It is also a way of giving feedback to stakeholders about the participatory process and its outcomes.

Types of evaluation and tools of monitoring the engagement process

There are two types of evaluation:

  • A summative evaluation, undertaken at the end of the project, provides an overview of the whole project.
  • A formative evaluation, undertaken from the beginning of the project, is part of project development and helps to adapt it thanks to feedback.

The evaluator can use quantitative tools such as questionnaires and/or qualitative tools such as semi-structured interviews, focus groups and observation.

These tools can be used to:

  1. Monitor the success of the participatory process: Has the participatory process met its objectives?
  2. Evaluate the organisation of the participatory process: Were the methods, the exchanges, the duration of the workshops adapted? It can also question the cost of the participatory process: Were the costs adapted to the objectives and outcomes of the project?
  3. Analyse the results of the participatory process: What have stakeholders and researchers got out of the process?
    Get ideas for futures participatory processes: What was efficient and what could be improved?