Operating principles for collaborative evaluation research partnerships

The centre is committed to collaborative evaluation research partnerships and uphold the following operating principles.

Jointly agreeing the direction: Consensus will be reached on the scope and the tasks involved in enabling research to be completed by all stakeholders. Determining how the research will fit into the organisations current capacity can be a staged, iterative process. Through the collaborative partnership, all parties involved can identify portions of work that each can undertake. There will be recognition that research can often involve a learning curve for community organisations partners. The collaborative partners will agree the need for flexibility and accountability during the process, which could range from a one-off consultation to a multi-year contract.

An equal partnership: The community organisation together with the researchers and other parties are all recognised to possess helpful knowledge that can inform the evaluation process.

Innovation: Collaborative research provides fertile ground for innovation—information gained through this process, can be used to enact social change. This innovation may be in regards to the way data is captured, new data collection methods used, and original tools developed to approach service delivery.

Practice will add value to research and research will add value to practice: Collaborative partnerships will acknowledge the two-way, value-added relationship, between practice and research. Research can draw on day-to-day practices, conversations, success stories, and data previously collected within community organisations. The collaborative partnership will enable everyday learnings to be captured and useable in order to advocate for change.

Develop an atmosphere of mutual respect: This needs to be based on an appreciation of the skills and capacities of one another. This must take time develop and each party will need to contribute to a sense of safety that allows the other to do their work.

Develop open communication: Collaborative research relies on open communication between the researcher and the organisation. This means that there should be frequent opportunities for discussion including the space to debate, disagree and resolve differences.

Recognise differences in the approach of the researcher and the organisation: Researchers may be concerned with the rigor of the research method while the organisation may have more pragmatic considerations. This can be a healthy tension in the relationship and lead to fruitful discussion.

Recognise the needs of all people: People of diverse ages, genders, generations, and geographic locations. This includes Māori, Pacific, ethnic communities and all other communities to have evaluation research provided in a way that is consistent with their, social, economic, political, cultural, linguistic and spiritual values.

Respect nationally recognised ethical codes and evaluation standards: All projects carried out in partnership with the centre will be in alignment with ethical codes as outlined in the New Zealand Ethics Committee Code of Professional Standards and Ethics in Science, Technology and the Humanities. Similarly, the CCRE recognises the country’s professional body for evaluation–Aotearoa New Zealand Evaluation Association (ANZEA), which provides a wealth of knowledge regarding evaluation standards, competencies and resources.

Evaluation research is a process not an outcome: The research is a learning process for both the researcher and the organisation. The final evaluation report may be less important than knowledge developed along the way.