The IDEAS guide and facilitators' guide

The IDEAS Guide (Innovating, Designing, Evaluating and Applying to Small-scale projects) is a guide to the design and evaluation of small-scale media and communication projects where evaluation is built into the design of an initiative.

This resource and the following information was contributed to BetterEvaluation by Jessica Noske-Turner.


Authors and their affiliation

Jessica Noske-Turner, Heather Horst, Jo Tacchi (RMIT University)

Key features

The IDEAS Guide is intended for organisations and people who are doing small media and communication projects. ‘IDEAS’ refers to Innovating Designing Evaluating and Applying to Small-scale. The IDEAS Guide leads users through the process of designing a project, and thinking about the project’s evaluation, with a focus on how to do useful evaluation for learning and continual project improvement. It is designed to cater for a range of different skill levels in evaluation.

The Facilitators’ Guide was developed to accompany the IDEAS Guide to help facilitators run workshops to effectively support capacity development for individuals working in grassroots and community organisations who might have little or no experience of evaluation. It may also be helpful for more experienced practitioners.

The IDEAS Guide and the Facilitators’ Guide are co-created resources, developed with feedback and contributions from media and communication practitioners as part of an action-research initiative. The co-creation process included two workshops where the tools were trialled and developed at different stages of the project.

The guides were developed in the context of a specific program (the PACMAS Innovation Fund) in the Pacific, however, we hope that the guides can be adapted for use beyond this original context.

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

Any media and communication practitioner or team undertaking a development or social change project could use the IDEAS Guide. It is designed as an entry-level resource for people with little or no experience of evaluation. It is intended to be used at the beginning of a project to help connect the design of the project with a learning, continual-improvement approach to the evaluation. 

While it can be used independently, and it is hoped it will be adapted to a range of contexts, the IDEAS Guide and the IDEAS Facilitators’ Guide have been developed with the idea that a funding organisation could play an active role in helping project teams to use the guide. In the context of a small grant or innovation fund, a facilitator would usually be part of the managing or funding organisation. The envisaged mode of delivery is via a workshop, The facilitator may have a specific role in supporting capacity development, a role in monitoring and evaluation, or any other position with an interest in assisting the recipients of funds to manage their own project design and evaluation. 

Why would you recommend it to other people?

There are very few entry-level guides with a focus on media and communication projects that are intended for use by practitioners. This guide is also unique in the way it combines processes of designing and conceptualising a project with the design of the evaluation to encourage a continual learning, adaptive approach to implementation. This guide draws on high-quality resources and frameworks, including the BetterEvaluation Rainbow Framework.


Noske-Turner, J., Horst, H. and Tacchi, J. (2016). IDEAS Facilitators’ Guide. RMIT University.

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