WP5 – Evaluation frameworks in public health nutrition

Principal Investigators

Prof Kevin Balanda, Prof Harry Rutter, Prof Ivan Perry, Prof Patricia Kearney, Prof Cecily Kelleher, Ms Fiona O’Shea (IPH)


The overall aim of this programme of work is to advance the field of evaluation of complex interventions by synthesising existing approaches and developing new ones. This involves a move from simple linear cause and effect models to take account of the context of interventions within a complex system and assess impacts accordingly. Much of the research conducted to date has investigated the impact of single interventions, but more sophisticated approaches to evaluation of both interventions and natural experiments are now needed. As CHDR capacity is relatively limited in this specific area, the focus of work for WP-5 will be on leveraging international experience and best practice in the evaluation of both policy interventions and interventions targeted at individual or group level in the area of public health nutrition. Specifically, we will draw on

  • the MRC guidance on evaluating complex interventions;
  • the literature on evaluation within complex systems;
  • existing guidance on realistic evaluation,the work by Swinburn and colleagues in Australia (as yet unpublished);
  • the resources developed by the UK National Obesity Observatory (now Public Health England) including the Standard Evaluation Frameworks (SEF’s)  for individual and group level interventions (http://www.empho.org.uk/viewResource.aspx?id=11290;
  • the Evaluation Framework for Obesity Prevention Policy Interventions developed by the  U.S. CDC-funded Center of Excellence for Training and Research Translation;
  • the resources developed by the Institute for Public Health in Ireland.

We will develop this and other work further by considering not only the place of the complex intervention, but its context within a complex system. At the same time we will maximise the use of routinely and/or cheaply collected data to minimise the cost of evaluation.


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