Process evaluation of a research workshop and follow-up support to help practitioners from 13 weight management projects to carry out evaluations
Background: In October 1997 the Department of Health agreed to fund evaluations of 13 weight management projects and offer research training and support for the successful applicants. Aims: To help the projects develop focused and relevant research questions for their evaluations; to encourage the use of appropriate methods to answer these research questions; and to help the projects set realistic timetables and budgets. A 2-day seminar was held in Oxford and follow up support was available from the seminar tutors. Methods: A process evaluation was conducted. Semistructured telephone interviews with all seminar participants took place 2 weeks after the seminar and again after the completion of the evaluation reports. An independent assessor compared the original proposals with the final reports. Results: Eleven projects sent representatives to the seminar. All of the 11 projects that sent representatives to the seminar had subsequent contact with the tutors and submitted final reports in February 1988. The independent assessor concluded that for six projects there was improvement in the research questions and methods which were used and no change for the other five. Conclusions: Recommendations include amending the selection procedure for funding evaluations and specific suggestions to improve the organization and content of the research training seminar and follow-up support.