Research and Insight| Programme and Impact Evaluation| Consultation and Engagement

North RTD works closely with organisations to understand their research needs and supports them to use research and evaluation to achieve their outcomes and maximise impact.

We listen to the needs of each client and design a tailored response that meets their particular needs. North RTD researchers are qualified, skilled and experienced in a range of traditional and innovative research and evaluation techniques, strategies and approaches, including:

  1. Online and paper based surveys
  2. Face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews and online interviews
  3. Focus groups
  4. Participant observation
  5. Visual methodologies using film, photography, drawing and painting
  6. Podcasts and audio diaries
  7. Literature and systematic reviews
  8. Analysis of secondary quantitative and qualitative data sets.

Research and Insight

Need to know what the most effective intervention is for the people you work with?

Are you currently thinking about changing your approach, but would like to know what impact this might have?

Reviewing existing published research can be an excellent way of helping to inform and steer organisational thinking and decisions about programmes and practice. North RTD conduct literature and systematic reviews that address the specific questions organisations have.

Case study 1

A client provided a service to support people after their release from prison and wanted to improve the provision that helped people back into work. The questions they had were:

  1. What is known about the role of employment in the resettlement process?
  2. What approaches are being taken to support people in the resettlement process to move back into work?
  3. What might be the implications of adopting an identified approach for our service and staff?

Our team conducted a literature review and produced a PowerPoint presentation that addressed these questions. The organisation used both to guide and support the development of their service.

Do you want to better understand what you do now, or might do in the future?

Our research team work with organisations to help them understand potential uses of the data they already collect and how it can be used to develop or improve services. It also supports organisations to develop a Theory of Change. North RTD can advise on the different categories and range of data that could be used by organisations to generate to build their evidence base or use to inform development or funding bids.

Case study 1

Sussex Prisoners’ Families provides emotional and practical support to supports prisoners’ families in the south of England. It wanted to know more about the specific needs of families in this area and their experiences of help-seeking. This insight would mean they were better able to develop the support that people wanted in ways that were accessible and minimised barriers to access. The organisation realised that this work would be useful to local government and so built a partnership with them to develop and commission the work.

Our team designed a study that used multiple methods to engage with prisoners’ families and the professionals currently working with them across a range of settings. The work is supported by a steering group of families affected by imprisonment. This work is ongoing, but the findings will be used by the organisation and local government.

Case study 2

Refugee Action Kingston is a charity that provides advice and support for refugees and asylum seekers in the Kingston area. To better understand the needs of refugees, migrants and asylum-seekers living in Kingston they commissioned research to give them insights into the everyday lives of those individuals and communities. This would be used to develop their own services, build evidence of need and inform The Royal Borough of Kingston’s Refugee and Migrant Strategy 2015-2020.

Our team designed a multi-strand research project that included focus groups and an online survey for professionals and practitioners. We also trained local volunteers to act as peer researchers and support other refugees, asylum seekers and migrants to create photo-diaries. Once produced, the diaries were analysed and follow-up elicitation interviews were conducted between the peer-researcher and research participants.

The North RTD team presented the emerging findings and ran a workshop to consult with stakeholders and other partners on the research themes at the annual Refugee and Migrant conference held in the borough. The final report is available to download here.


Programme and Impact Evaluation

Do you want support to develop outcomes for your project or programme?

Do you need support to set up data monitoring processes?

Do you need to evaluation to assess if your project or programme has met its objectives or had an impact?

Being able to deliver effective formative and summative evaluation relies heavily on organisations understanding the role of data. Successful projects and programmes have a clear understanding of what they want to achieve, know what data is needed to evidence their achievements and collect data consistently over the lifetime of the project or programme, and beyond if evidence of impact is needed.

North RTD can guide organisations and project teams through this process and conduct an evaluation to meet your specific needs. We also produce audio only and audio-visual versions of evaluations that organisations can share with funders and other partners.

Case study 1

The Prison Advice and Care Trust (Pact) approached North RTD to evaluate a ‘through the gate’ mentoring project for women leaving prison in London. In addition to a more traditional evaluation Pact wanted to produce a short film that told the story of the project and provided insight into some of the women’s experiences of leaving custody, being supported by a Pact mentor and resettlement. Our team designed an evaluation that included interviews with women who had been part of the project, volunteer mentors and project staff and other partners. We also completed a secondary analysis of all project data. With our partners at One Film, the research team produced a ten-minute documentary that included interviews with women, project staff and volunteer mentors. This was cut as an evaluation so that funders and other partners could see the key findings on the outcomes of the project as well as insights from the empirical research conducted. The documentary included women telling their stories of release, support and resettlement.

Case study 2

New Note Orchestra (NNO) helps people in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. NNO contacted North RTD because they wanted advice and support on how to gather data to evidence the orchestra’s work and its impact on its members. Our team started by spending time with NNO, this enabled us to understand the orchestra, how orchestra members engage with the project and the impact the project hoped to achieve. We then designed a process of simple data monitoring, which was simple to use and enabled the project to keep track and review progress, understand the experience of orchestra members and the role the orchestra played in the recovery process.


Consultation and Engagement

Are you looking to change a project or programme?

Do you need to speak to the right people to access their views and opinions before you decide on the best course of action?

Do you need to engage with individuals or groups who are hard to reach and gather their views on an issue?

North RTD will identify, access and consult with relevant groups (partners, service users and others) to seek their views and opinions on organisational change or to answer specific questions organisations have. Undertaking an effective consultation can help organisations make good decisions and improve their outcomes and impact. Asking people for their views and

Case study

North RTD was commissioned by an organisation that trains prisoners to provide emotional and practical support to others serving a sentence. The organisation wanted to change the forms of data it collected to better capture its outcomes and impact. North RTD undertook a series of consultations with male and female prisoners currently serving time in the secure estate about data. We also consulted a range of partners including the National Offender Management Service, the Scottish Prison Service and prison staff nationally to get their views on what types of data would help them better understand the role of prison volunteers and the prisoners they support. The final report made a series of recommendations that are currently being integrated into the project and implemented by the organisation.