Capturing the Most Significant Change in Our Place Sites

The Most Significant Change (MSC) method of story collection has been used at Our Place since 2018 by the Research and Evaluation (R&E) team to capture qualitative examples of meaningful change across Our Place sites.

What is MSC?

MSC is a form of participatory monitoring and evaluation and is a well-known and widely used evaluation technique developed by Davies and Dart in 2005 within the development and non-government organisation sector to help monitor and evaluate programs and initiatives. Since then, the method has been applied in many different sectors, cultural contexts, and countries.

MSC provides examples of change (impact) in story form that are easy to engage with and can sit alongside quantitative data in the form of indicators to provide a rich context. It can also be a useful way of sharing stories across sites and helping to capture the expected and unexpected changes that can come about in the work Our Place does. Since 2018, several MSC workshops have been held, resulting in approximately 66 MSC stories being collected.

Undertaking MSC at Our Place

The MSC process helps support and illustrate the impact of the Our Place approach on the ground and often identifies common themes across Our Place sites. MSC workshops held in Term 2 2022 resulted in the following themes being identified: 

  • Creating a sense of belonging – Community Facilitators have supported some of the most socially isolated parents to foster a sense of connection and belonging through their work.
  • Boosting confidence – Community Facilitators have witnessed transformations amongst parents they have built relationships with and trust, who are now confident to take up some of the opportunities offered on site.
  • Empowering parents – Community Facilitators have supported parents in rediscovering their interests, taking up opportunities, and finding a pathway of relevance.
  • Building solid partnerships and collaboration – Partnership Managers have worked hard to overcome barriers that can arise when working in partnership with different sectors and agencies, which has a positive flow-on effect for families. 

Aligning with the Our Place Approach

Our Research and Evaluation team are central to the Our Place commitment to evidence-based decision-making and continuous quality improvement. The team oversees the design and implementation of the evaluation of the Our Place initiative, which adopts an outcomes-based mindset, meaning ‘we start with the end in mind’; and then define what success will look like and the strategies and actions required to get there.

Evaluation efforts are guided by an Outcomes Framework that sets out the results we seek to achieve in the long term, together with our evidence-based elements to be implemented across our sites. Our framework also offers possible indicators to understand whether the approach was implemented as intended and measures achievement or contributions toward the desired outcomes at a site level and across the initiative. Using this framework, our Research and Evaluation team conduct both quantitative and qualitative evaluation activities across three primary areas: process, impact, and economic value, with MSC forming part of our qualitative evaluation, spanning the areas of process and impact.

To find out more about the Our Place approach, including our five evidence-based elements and evaluation approach Click Here