[ASC-list] Sci comm evaluation courses?

Tamzin Byrne tamzin at scienceinpublic.com.au
Thu Jul 28 07:35:42 UTC 2016

Hi Adam,

Not sci-comm specific, but in charity and social enterprise I reckon making a ‘theory of change’ is a useful process to assess any intervention. It’s what we teach social entrepreneurs and charity founders at the programme I work on at Cambridge Uni, and increasingly donors/funders over here are asking for one. It seems very similar to the outcome mapping that Cobi mentioned. There are simpler and more complex versions of this for small and large organisations.

These are the consultants we work with – they have great online resources. http://www.thinknpc.org/publications/theory-of-change/

But for those who want the TLDR:

A theory of change is basically a very simple log frame. You write down your activities, on the left/top and your overarching goal on the right/bottom, and then construct a logical set of inputs, outputs and outcomes to show that your activities result in your goal.

Once you’ve constructed that you can pick a few spots along this logical flowchart to make measurements of your social impact. For a schools programme that aims to get kids enrolling in science at uni, for example, you can measure the number of students, you can survey students and their teachers, you can create a short test of understanding at the end of the session, you can measure repeat bookings, and you can collect anecdotal feedback along the way that supports all of the above.

Instead of trying to measure your overarching goal of kids enrolling at uni – which is almost impossible to measure or prove – you create metrics around the steps involved in your intervention and then logically demonstrate that your activities meet your goal by referring to the anecdotal evidence you collect and also looking at research which shows that other similar interventions have achieved the same goal.

Happy to answer any questions!
Tamzin Byrne
Science writer and communicator, Science in Public
Melbourne, Australia | Cambridge, UK

From: ASC-list <asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au> on behalf of Cobi Smith <cobi.smith at anu.edu.au>
Date: Thursday, 28 July 2016 1:06 am
To: Adam Barclay <adam.barclay at crccare.com>, "'list at asc.asn.au'" <list at asc.asn.au>
Subject: Re: [ASC-list] Sci comm evaluation courses?

Hi Adam,

I think most AES courses apply well to scicomm: http://www.aes.asn.au/professional-learning/calendar-of-events.html

The Outcome Mapping training I did through AES was some of the most useful training I've done.

Searching through evaluations at http://www.informalscience.org/ might be helpful for methods ideas.

Best wishes from Vanuatu,


From: ASC-list <asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au> on behalf of Adam Barclay <adam.barclay at crccare.com>
Sent: Thursday, 28 July 2016 6:29:13 AM
To: 'list at asc.asn.au'
Subject: [ASC-list] Sci comm evaluation courses?

Hello all,

Does anybody know of any courses/workshops on evaluating science communication activities (or comms activities in general)? This could include pre- and post-activity evaluation, data collection and analysis, and anything else that can shed light on whether an activity had any impact.


Adam Barclay
Communication Manager
[RC CARE]<http://www.crccare.com/>
Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment
ATC Building | University of Newcastle | Callaghan NSW 2308 | Australia
tel +61 2 4033 9439  | mobile +61 429 779 228

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