This paper proposes a model for the evaluation of communication from national or large regional communication programs that aim to communicate about natural resources science and/or management initiatives. The model builds on some of the strategies used to evaluate public health campaigns and outlines both formative and summative measures for evaluating natural resources communication programs.

The proposed model is tested against reviews of natural resources communication programs in Australia. In particular, it looks at communication programs from the National Dryland Salinity Program and from the Murray-Darling Basin Commission. These two initiatives involve partnerships between national and State governments and other agencies.

Analysis of the proposed model against these communication reviews indicates there are special problems for evaluating national programs communicating about natural resources initiatives. In particular, it is hard to measure behavioural changes as a direct result of specific communication interventions. It is also important to establish baseline data up front if summative evaluation is to be feasible. The paper goes on to outline some measures that could be used to overcome these problems, and suggests an adaptation of the model originally proposed.

The paper also suggests that for natural resources communication programs, formative evaluation is far more important than summative evaluation. It is also postulated that formative evaluation is more likely to speed up both individual and community responses to natural resources communication programs.


 


 



 

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

An evaluation model for national natural resources communication programs

Jenni Metcalfe   Econnect Communication Pty Ltd

This paper proposes a model for the evaluation of communication from national or large regional communication programs that aim to communicate about natural resources science and/or management initiatives. The model builds on some of the strategies used to evaluate public health campaigns and outlines both formative and summative measures for evaluating natural resources communication programs.

The proposed model is tested against reviews of natural resources communication programs in Australia. In particular, it looks at communication programs from the National Dryland Salinity Program and from the Murray-Darling Basin Commission. These two initiatives involve partnerships between national and State governments and other agencies.

Analysis of the proposed model against these communication reviews indicates there are special problems for evaluating national programs communicating about natural resources initiatives. In particular, it is hard to measure behavioural changes as a direct result of specific communication interventions. It is also important to establish baseline data up front if summative evaluation is to be feasible. The paper goes on to outline some measures that could be used to overcome these problems, and suggests an adaptation of the model originally proposed.

The paper also suggests that for natural resources communication programs, formative evaluation is far more important than summative evaluation. It is also postulated that formative evaluation is more likely to speed up both individual and community responses to natural resources communication programs.


 


 



 

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