Evaluation tools can be roughly broken down into two categories quantitative tools, which measure how many, how much, how big, and so forth; and qualitative tools, which measure more intangible things like awareness, feelings, attitude, or appreciation (Tennenbaum and Driscoll, 2005).
Sometimes, quantitative data alone are sufficient as the goals or outcomes might be reasonably simple to measure. More complex goals, such as increasing intercultural competences or social cohesion, are however likely to require qualitative or mixed approaches. While it may seem sometimes impossible to measure such intangible objectives, there are tools to support such evaluations. Below, we describe some of those tools.
A survey is a list of questions aimed at extracting specific data from a particular group of people, including feelings, opinions, attitudes and thoughts. Surveys can be administered online, in-person, on paper or the phone (Leung, 2001).
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Participant observation is the act of perceiving the workings of individuals or groups while also being part of participants’ daily lives. Observation can involve a range of methods, including direct observation, participation in the life of the group, discussions, and quantitative tracking. Observations are very commonly used in and accessible for sport settings, but there are numerous risks of bias, so they are usually best combined with other approaches.
A focus group usually consists of a handful of individuals who, together, represent a good example of your target group. Through directed, open-ended questions, you can assess how they perceive and are impacted by your sessions or lessons. Focus groups are typically facilitated by someone, recorded, transcribed, and then analysed. However, in the context of an intercultural sport session, group reflection sessions – such as described within Right To Play’s Reflect-Connect-Apply approach – can also provide valuable insights about your group and their progress.
Interviews provide in-depth information about participants’ experiences and viewpoints. Often, interviews are coupled with other forms of data collection to generate a full, well-rounded collection of information. Interviews can be more informal (i.e. conversational or semi-structured) or highly structured and, like with a focus group, are usually recorded, transcribed and analysed (Turner, 2010). These interviews also do not need to be limited to the participants in sport sessions, but could also include the perspectives of other teachers, coaches or parents. For example, in a school setting, you could interview other teachers to find out if they observe any changes in their students following participation in intercultural sport sessions.
Other innovative methods also exist, and these can be particularly suitable for young groups or sporting contexts. These include, for example, interactive activities, stories, photos, blogs, diaries, or drawings (SELA Advisory Group, 2009). In the practical section of this chapter, you will find engaging, creative activities to get feedback from your groups and contribute to the M&E of your sessions.