Sarah is internationally recognised for her work in developing innovative approaches to ensure that decision-makers have access to the best evidence for taking organisations, policies and practices forward. She has done this through:
- creating channels for getting research into the real world (at the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships)
- broadening understanding of the interaction between research, policy and practice (through work with UNICEF, What Work Scotland and other research); and
- working alongside organisations to use evidence for improving services for the families and communities they serve (with Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Starcatchers, The Scottish Book Trust, Shelter Scotland and others).
Sarah has pioneered a participatory approach to using contribution analysis to understand and achieve outcomes.
Photo by Malin Widstrand Photography
Interrogating assumptions about the relationship between service providers and recipients: Learning from a new service for survivors of In Care Abuse (2023)
Ailsa Cook, Sarah Morton, Flora Henderson. Evaluation and Program Planning, Volume 97.
Understanding the dynamic relationship between service providers and the people who use their services is key to effective evaluation. This paper presents a practical approach to embedded evaluation that can be used by services to interrogate assumptions about relationships. The approach includes a simple framework for developing theories of change that centres relational aspects of the change process. This framework is complemented by a structured approach to surfacing risks and assumptions. Using the example of the evaluation of Future Pathways, a new and ground breaking service provided to people who experienced abuse or neglect as children In Care in Scotland, the paper describes how this approach was used in practice.