Research management planning and evaluation

Design and implementation

The Target partners in ROPE-Sci Research management can for example be the university management, researchers, technicians, and librarians. The Target partners are requested to identify their ambitions and goals, strategies to reach their goals and also what hinders them reaching their goals. After having identified the ambitions of the Target partners, the ROPE compiles the challenges that the Target partners face. Those challenges describe the reasons for why the Target partners are not doing what they want to do to reach their goals. We call the compilation of challenges Outcome challenges. Linked to each Outcome challenge is a Progress marker. The purpose with the Progress markers is to enable evaluation planning of the program activities. Thus, the Progress markers are well defined indicators which can be easily monitored and assessed.

After having elaborated on the goals then Quality values (QV) and Cross-cultural understanding and partnership (CUP) is addressed. During CUP the partners agree on the definition of equal partnership, including expectations and shared input and benefit. Thereafter a Sustainable economy plan is developed as well as an Institutional capacity assessment scheme. The institutional capacity includes aspects as mission, vision, strategy, goals, sustainable economy, evaluation planning, strategic partners, visibility, staff, volunteers, management, board, infrastructure, and finance administration and accounting. Thereafter outcome challenges are compiled for all topics mentioned above. together with the related Progress markers.

The next step is to develop an Output map.  It is the Outcome Challenges and the Progress markers that define the Output Map. The Output Map is a set of concrete activities that needs to be addressed to reach the goals of the Target partners and the related areas. At this time, when everything has been considered, then, and only then is it time to develop an Input map. The Input map will compile who does what, how and when and what the resources required. Prior to implementing the programme an MoU is preferably agreed on.

Monitoring

The Monitoring benefits from the HR&S Action Principles (TAct), Cross-cultural partnership tool (CUP) Transparency and accountability tool (TrAcc) and ROPE-Design. Those tools and principles were combined with the principles of Process tracing, Contribution tracing and Bayesian updating.

ROPE-Monitoring involves un-packing the causal mechanism that explains what it is that linked cause A to outcome B. The investigator establishes a causal chain linking A to B and tests the strength of the evidence at each step in the chain by applying a number of probability tests underpinned by Bayesian logic.

ROPE-Monitoring is participatory and involves all stakeholders at every step. The full team is involved with formulating the case (contribution claim), determining what evidence to look for, testing the evidence and calculating the confidence levels of a contribution claim (all with the support of someone who understands the approach).

Evaluation planning

The ROPE Evaluation planning builds on a sequence of monitoring and evaluation events, for with dates, participants and results are recorded. Lessons learnt from the monitoring and evaluation exercises are fed into the Journal and are used for Programme design revisions.

The outcome evaluation planning is preferably done real-time so that the lessons learnt can directly contribute to the evaluation planning in actual practice.

The monitoring starts at the same time as the design of the programme. The first task is to identify the baseline of the programme; thus the situation prior to the start of the programme (the control).