CHErIsH get planning!

CHErIsH team members recently took part in a two-day event organised by CHErIsH postdoctoral fellow Dr. Elaine Toomey to develop the CHErIsH process evaluation. Dr. Toomey secured funding from the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) to host a one-day training workshop in process evaluations in the National University of Ireland Galway. BITSS aims to enhance the practices of economists, psychologists, political scientists, and other social scientists in ways that promote research transparency, reproducibility, and openness.

PE course
Signage in the workshop venue

The first day of the workshop was facilitated by Dr Rhiannon Evans and Dr Graham Moore from the Centre for Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer) and was open to researchers, practitioners, policy-makers and students from a broad variety of backgrounds. Specifically, this workshop aimed to facilitate world-class training in Ireland on how to conduct a process evaluation of a complex intervention. Process evaluations focus on understanding how and why an intervention (e.g. treatment or programme or specific approach) succeeds or fails and assesses any variation in terms of how it is put into practice. It is crucial for enhancing the development, conduct and reporting of intervention evaluations in psychology, public health and social science settings. For read more on the content of the day one workshop, click here to read Dr Toomey’s BITSS blog.

The second day was a closed session (funded by the Health Research Board CHErIsH project budget) specifically for the CHErIsH study team to focus on planning the process evaluation for the CHErIsH project. Nine members of the study team were present (with one virtually present via Skype!) for the half-day session facilitated by Dr Evans. First, Dr Evans provided a brief summary and refresher of the previous day’s content. This summary focused on the role of process evaluations in developing and evaluating complex interventions as well as the role of intervention theory and development of a logic model (visual depiction of the intervention and its hypotheses). Finally, Dr. Evans concluded by discussing how to recognize key process evaluation components and identify their strengths and limitations.

PE course Day 2 Cherish
CHErIsH team members with Dr Rhiannon Evans from DECIPHer
L-R: Dr Jenny McSharry, Prof Molly Byrne, Dr Michelle Queally, Dr Elaine Toomey, Dr Rhiannon Evans, Dr Sheena McHugh, Ms Marita Hennessy, Dr Colette Kelly, Dr Caroline Heary

After coffee, CHErIsH postdoctoral fellow Dr Michelle Queally provided an overview on the CHErIsH project and an update of progress to date. This presentation nicely facilitated the next stage of practical group-work which aimed to look at applying the process evaluation literature and knowledge specifically to the CHErIsH project. In two separate groups, the study team discussed potential areas for consideration  for the project, in terms of determinants (or influences) of behaviour and how this could be changed for both healthcare providers working in primary care, as well as for parents of young infants. The team also discussed ‘dark logic’ models or potential, unintended, adverse effects of an approach to improve infant feeding in primary care – such as having reduced time for other important aspects of infant health.

Overall, it was felt that this was a hugely useful event which consolidated general knowledge regarding process evaluations with a specific emphasis on its application for the CHErIsH project. Thoughts, outcomes and final considerations from this day will be further discussed at the upcoming CHErIsH team meeting!

The workshop reading list, full agenda details and workshop evaluations are available on The one-day workshop was funded by the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) and the John Templeton Foundation. For more information, please visit, sign up for the BITSS blog, and follow BITSS on Twitter @UCBITSS. The second day closed event was funded by the CHErIsH project budget HRB-ICE-2015-1026.


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