Independent evaluation of I-Tracker yields insights into significant changes 2013
In 2012, Tuna Blue Consulting was contracted by NAILSMA to undertake an independent assessment of the I-Tracker program using a ‘Most Significant Change’ (MSC) methodology. The I-Tracker MSC study engaged with Indigenous rangers, Traditional Owners and scientists who are involved with the I-Tracker program, to look at the changes the program has made for them and their communities.
The MSC methodology is a qualitative approach to monitoring and evaluating a program that involves the collection and analysis of stories of individual experiences of change. Through confidential interviews of people with firsthand knowledge of a project, the method provides an opportunity to reflect and learn from the on-ground experiences of participants, collaborators, and practitioners.
The goal of the I-Tracker MSC study was to elicit feedback about the program, and to measure the impact I-Tracker has had on individuals and communities in north Australia. Study participants were invited to tell their stories, with an assurance that their accounts would remain anonymous and that all interviews would be confidential. All quotes included in the final report have been depersonalised.
The MSC methodology was chosen to evaluate the I-Tracker program because the qualitative approach of interviews and storytelling enabled a holistic evaluation of project impacts. The method has previously been used successfully to evaluate similar projects involving Indigenous communities in Australia.
The MSC study recorded 66 storytellers in 59 on-country interviews. From these interviews, a total of 190 stories were extracted that give a first-hand account of the changes that the I-Tracker program has made to people on country. The MSC report contains a selection of thirty stories that demonstrate the most significant changes that have occurred as a result of participating in the I-Tracker program. These stories were chosen by an independent selection panel who provided reasons for their choices.
The MSC report will inform the ongoing modification and improvement of the I-Tracker program, and also serves as a valuable external evaluation of the use of funds provided by Caring for our Country Fund.