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The utility of process evaluation : understanding HIV/AIDS prevention programmes

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 99-106). / Many evaluations of HIV/AIDS intervention programmes continue to focus on impact and thus overlook the processes through which any given outcomes have been achieved; this has prompted a call for a more consistent focus on what happens during interventions. Therefore, this study endeavours to provide a detailed description and critical analysis of an HIV/AIDS intervention programme. Through adopting a case-based approach, the aim is to illustrate the types of understanding that stand to be gained through the application of process evaluation. A conceptual framework is established which contextualises process evaluation by defining and situating it within the broader framework of programme evaluation; a summary of the main debates in the field of evaluation research is provided. The trends in how other HIV/AIDS intervention programmes have been conceptualised, developed and implemented are discussed, in order to locate the research and to establish criteria for comprehensive evaluation of HIV/AIDS intervention programmes. It is asserted that collectively negotiated social identities shape responses and vulnerability to HIV/AIDS, due to a reciprocally determining relationship between identity, sexual behaviour, and HIV/AIDS. It is argued that an understanding of this complex relationship is essential for those who are evaluating HIV/AIDS intervention programmes. This discussion provides a set of tools for reviewing HIV/AIDS intervention programmes, and advocates that process evaluation should focus not only on the implementation and theoretical orientation of a programme, but also on its proposed pedagogy. In the light of this discussion, a model of process evaluation is developed which is tailored to address the specific challenges posed by HIV/AIDS as a topic for education and which, it is argued, enables the systematic and comprehensive assessment of HIV/AIDS intervention programmes. The model proposes a multi-layered approach to evaluation and incorporates three main categories: processual, theoretical, and pedagogical. The model dictated the guiding questions and data sources that were adopted. Three qualitative research methods were employed. First, using purposive sampling, ten semi-structured interviews were conducted with committee members and volunteers at various stages throughout the programme's first term. Second, participant observations were conducted during and after all committee meetings, general staff meetings and training sessions, and during each of the four lessons. Third, qualitative content analysis was employed to examine the programme's curriculum. The data was analysed largely inductively, but in the light of the theoretical and conceptual frameworks. The findings reveal a number of factors which, it is argued, detract from the intervention's potential for empowerment and the collective renegotiation of social identities (identified as 'key preconditions for programme success' (Catherine Campbell and Catherine MacPhail, 2002:331). These include a lack of structure and theoretical grounding, the absence of a needs-based approach, a lack of ownership, the adoption of a didactic teaching style and the decontextualised nature of the intervention. In addition to providing insight to the specific programme under evaluation, the study contributes to the body of understanding on evaluation research generally through demonstrating and discussing the types of insights that can be gained through the application of process evaluation. The findings demonstrate the way in which process evaluation first, allows for problems to be noticed as they occur and, second, provides the necessary foundation for an evaluation of outcome. It is argued that a process evaluation that takes account processual, theoretical and pedagogical factors has the capacity to respond to the complexity of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and thus can enable the development of more appropriate, comprehensive, and effective HIV/AIDS interventions.
Date January 2009
CreatorsReed, Jenny
PublisherUniversity of Cape Town, Faculty of Humanities, Aids and Society Research Unit
Source SetsSouth African National ETD Portal
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeMaster Thesis, Masters, MPhil

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