Project Research Life Cycle approach

Too often, an intervention is developed without consideration as to how it will be evaluated at the very start, leading to the need to retro-fit an approach after a project has already been designed and is in delivery. This will frequently make robust evaluation challenging to implement or even impossible without a full redesign of the intervention, its referral criteria and mechanisms and data-collection processes.

The VPP’s Head of Research has developed the Project Research Life Cycle as a simple underpinning process or framework through which we take any new intervention project.  

A series of “Gateways” create a structure through which the project proposal must pass.

Gates 0 and 1 take a project idea and place it under scrutiny to assess what the project aims to achieve and establishes what evidence may already exist on such an approach from which we can learn and use to inform the project design.

Gate 2 ensures that the right business capabilities are in place to effective deliver and monitor the delivery of the project from the outset, to allow a valid evaluation.  This includes establishing starting baselines and careful cohort design and allows for the right funding and resourcing to be secured.

Gate 3 allows for full research design, carefully planning how the project and evaluation will be conducted and also allows for ethical oversight.  Eventually a project can move into a pilot and full delivery phase, with the associated tracking of delivery and evaluation processes running.

Gate 4 is the delivery of final results, analysis and formal evaluation products to be drafted – adding to an evidence base as to how the project delivered.

Throughout the cycle there are feedback and re-design loops, opportunities to undertake further research and testing.

While it may seem complex, the process can be extremely swift to complete allowing to project to enter delivery. What it guarantees is that the project has been carefully designed and evaluation is built in from the very start.