Now you’re ready to begin with data collection and analysis/interpretation of results. Here are evaluation tools, approaches and tips that the YMHAC Initiative found useful.
Pre-survey for Youth Leads and Youth Champions
Training facilitators can administer pre-surveys to youth leads and champions at the beginning of their training workshops (store them in sealed envelopes and coded to protect confidentiality if using a paper copy).
Post-survey for Youth Leads and Youth Champions
Post-surveys can be completed by Youth Leads and Youth Champions 3-6 months after the pre-survey. Provide the option to complete online (by emailing link directly to the youth), or via paper copies coded to protect confidentiality sent out by the Public Health Lead or School Staff Lead.
Both pre- and post-survey questions should assess the youth’s:
- Knowledge and awareness of mental health promotion and substance misuse issues;
- Awareness of strategies to prevent substance use and misuse;
- Knowledge and awareness of healthy coping strategies;
- Understanding of the impact of stigma on youth; and
- Awareness of available information and resources/ services in their local community.
In your post-survey, add a rating of the youth’s satisfaction with the program and their confidence to work with other youth, and ask if the youth would be interested in continuing their work in the future.
Focus Groups with Youth Leads
Hold a focus group to gain further information about the youth’s experience in a leadership role, gain insight into their understanding of their role on the project, assess their satisfaction in their roles and gain insight about their role in future leadership work.
Who should lead? The focus group should be led by an external person who does not have direct relationship with the project to avoid bias, if possible.
Be careful to pose questions that are semi-structured with probes to help the youth express their opinions. The YMHAC Initiative focus group questions looked at the Youth Lead’s confidence to work with youth, satisfaction with the project, use of social media, ability to network with youth, their intention to continue their work and what could be provided to them to sustain their efforts.
Tip! Explore timing—school time, lunch hours or after school—in partnership with youth.
Check out the Youth Focus Group Guide and Questions Sample.
Focus Groups with Public Health Leads
Hold a focus group with Public Health Leads to gain an in-depth understanding of their experience in the project, discuss sustainability strategies for future work and to further understand the impact the project had in regards to locally based youth programming within the health unit and within Ontario as a whole.
Be sure to develop questions that are semi-structured with probes to help the Public Health Leads express their opinions. The YMHAC Initiative focus group questions looked at the Leads’ experiences working with youth, the impact of the project on their health unit, project successes, challenges experienced, sustainability issues, and key lessons learned.
Survey with Adult Allies/School Staff Leads
When developing a survey for Adult Allies (any adults involved in the Initiative who have not participated in another form of evaluation) or School Staff Leads, ask about their preferred role in the project, their overall satisfaction with their involvement, perceived benefits to the youth and to the schools as a result of the project, as well as their intent to continue their work. Conduct the survey towards the end of the project using an online format, if compatible with existing software systems and privacy rules.
Handy technology! If participants have access to computers, software programs could be used to administer the pre-survey.Check with local organizations about software compatibility and privacy issues. If suitable and permissible, these tools also help to gather and store data. Also, a statistical program such as SPSS can be helpful with comparative analysis used to show the differences in the distributions of responses from the pre-and post-surveys.
Collection of Youth Activity Profiles
Provide Youth Leads and Champions with an Activity Profile template close to the activity start; this allows them to profile a minimum of one of their Initiative activities that they felt truly addressed mental health promotion. Information collected includes the activity goal, description, and anticipated outcomes as well as include any resources they had produced.
Sharing of Lessons Learned
A plan for sharing the results of your evaluation, lessons learned and recommendations should be developed in your evaluation plan and implemented once the evaluation is completed.
Ensure that you use the findings and recommendations from the evaluation to help support the continuation of the Initiative (i.e., what went well, what are we missing, what can we change for the future).