Use the UK Office for National Statistics four personal wellbeing questions.
- only space for one question? use ‘life satisfaction’
- space for more? use Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale
Other measures available – for advice contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Doing an evaluation using wellbeing measures? Tell us
How to establish what works?*
1. Know what you want to achieve, what you do and why it matters
- This is your theory of change that you can usually do yourself
- Draw on existing wellbeing data
- Draw on research from other sources and learn from pioneers
2. See if there is a change by capturing data
- A good first step is to add measurement of wellbeing impact into projects, measuring wellbeing before, after, 12 months after. The techniques exist and although they are new, imprecise and evolving we will get better at it but we need to start using them.
→ Adding Subjective Wellbeing to Evaluations guide from the Social Impact Task Force
→ How to include personal wellbeing questions in your survey from the ONS
- Test out small things not just overall programmes – which parts make the difference? Can it be shorter or longer?
- When the learning about what works is embedded into activity policies and projects will be set up to collect evidence as you go along.
- Do include costing information so you can establish cost effectivness of the impact generated.
3. Understand if your project is causing the change using a control or comparison group
Robust methods to isolate the impact include using a control group, random selection and a sufficiently large sample.
- We really like the Test, Learn, Adapt approach set out here by the Behavioural Insights Team, Ben Goldacre, author of Bad Science, and David Torgerson, Director of the University of York Trials Unit.
- We also really like Randomise Me, an online trials generator a free easy to use online tool to create your own randomised controlled trial (RCT) also with Ben Goldacre, Better data and Nesta.
→ If you are a charity already including this measurement and thinking about how to do an economic evaluation of what you do, or a programme you deliver, pro bono economics may be able to help.
→ If you’re in the civil service, the Trials Advice Panel can help set this.
4. Understand if the impact can be shown repeatedly
Your findings can be validated by having one or more independent replication evaluations that confirm your impact. This could include endorsements or industry standards. This needs standardised processes etc.
5. Show that your project or approach can be scaled up and used by others with the same outcome
Manuals, systems and procedures ensure that the project/approach can be consistently applied by others with the same positive impact.
6. Continuously learn from practice
Sustained high performance needs action, purpose, enjoyment and, crucially, continuous learning. Learning is also important to wellbeing. Evaluation of impact is one way to learn. You can also learn from:
→ your own practice using continuous improvement, reflective practiontioner and work based learning approaches.
→ what others are doing – see our pioneers section
*This is adapted from the NESTA standards of evidence