Evidence Library

Title: Engaging communities in area-based regeneration: The role of participatory evaluation.
Author: Dobbs, L. & Moore, C.
Date Published: 2002
Reference: Policy Studies, 23(3/4), 157-171.
Are service users or carers authors: No/Not Known


This paper provides an overview of a number of projects undertaken in Tyneside which employed local residents to carry out baseline and impact surveys. It explores the benefits of participation as well as the barriers to involvement and how these might be overcome.

Training and supporting community members to conduct the surveys had the following benefits:

  • the researchers' knowledge of the local community meant they were better able to negotiate access to local groups, knew the best times to visit particular areas and were skilled at engaging hard-to-reach groups
  • their commitment to the local area and the project, meant they made strenuous efforts to increase the response rate at every opportunity.

The individual community researchers said they had gained a range of skills they hoped would help them find further employment in future as well as a sense of greater self-confidence and self-respect from being involved in such worthwhile work.

Members of the local community said they felt the process had allowed them to play an important role in regeneration and they enjoyed being interviewed by local people. They felt greater ownership of the outcomes and many more local people discussed the findings and recommendations.

Overall the community centred approach to the design, administration and analysis gave the survey results and recommendations widespread credibility amongst all stakeholders. There was a general sense of agreement that the results were representative of the community. Groups and individuals were more likely to embrace the results and move forward collectively on agreed recommendations. The participatory approach to the research seemed to act as a catalyst to enhance partnership working more generally.

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Categories: public health
Designing research
Undertaking research
Analysing and interpreting
impact on research
impact on service users involved
impact on implementation and change
impact of public involvement
journal article
Implementation and change

Date Entered: 2009/01/27

Date Edited: 2012/11/20

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