Hannah's Practicum Placement
As part of my master’s degree I worked as a Research Assistant for the Centre for Development Studies (CDS), for several months. Although employed by CDS my main involvement was with Bath Social and Development Research Ltd (Bath SDR), a not-for-profit company affiliated to Bath CDS, this led to some great learning experiences, and I have continued working for Bath SDR since graduating.
A challenge within Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) in international development (ID) is attributing impact to a specific project or programme due to the complex contexts they operate in. As part of a Department for International Development (DFID) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded CDS project, between 2012 and 2015, an evaluative method called Qualitative Impact Protocol (QuIP) was designed to address this challenge of attribution. Subsequently, in 2016 James Copestake and Fiona Remnant founded Bath SDR to promote the methodology. Bath SDR has now conducted or collaborated in more than 50 QuIP studies, across 20 countries spanning Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Currently, Bath SDR is the primary user of the methodology, but are working to train and promote the QuIP to individual consultants and organisations across the globe.
In my placement I researched how QuIP studies had been used by commissioning organisations. My role was to discuss challenges organisations faced when using the QuIP and feedback to Bath SDR on how to further encourage effective evaluation use. The information gathered from my interviews gave an important insight into the perceptions of the QuIP within the M&E sector.
My time at Bath CDS has opened my eyes to the value of effective M&E and the variety of ways the subsequent knowledge can be applied. Also, I became aware of the importance of M&E and the variety of different evaluation methods out there. I am grateful for the experience and skills that this placement has given me as it has encouraged me to pursue a career in the field, which is something I had not considered beforehand.
I now work part-time for Bath SDR as a Project Assistant. I help the team evaluate various international development projects and improve training resources for QuIP and Causal Map App (a data visualisation software). So far, there has been a lot to learn - like how to apply the QuIP methodology and how to create good educational content.
I spend the rest of my time working for the Relational Wellbeing Collaborative which is a consultancy that works with organisations to co-design and evaluate sustainable wellbeing programmes. This utilises a lot of the research and interview skills I improved whilst undertaking my practicum at CDS. I really enjoy both my roles and have relished the opportunities and challenges that have come with them. Undertaking a practicum gave me the skills that I apply daily to both my roles, but most importantly it revealed to me a career path that I am excited to go down!