The MIDAS research project is distinctive in its approach, purpose and impact. Upon completion, it will provide exceptional advantage to those involved in the difficult process of health policy decision-making across a number of countries, resulting in more accurate resource allocation as well as improved health outcomes for the populations of those countries.
Evaluation of the project is therefore critical to its appraisal and that evaluation extends beyond an examination of outputs, processes and outcomes, to a more detailed capturing of its wider impact.
Case studies are critical to the evaluation of the impact of MIDAS as the health care context within each country involved in the project is defined by its own characteristics, legislation, political context and other factors.
The impact evaluation process for MIDAS will seek to answer cause and effect questions by looking for the changes in outcome that are directly attributable to the MIDAS platform. That evaluation will be achieved with the assistance of the policy board and stakeholder participants.
These case studies are a valuable evaluation mechanism providing focused narratives that capture local knowledge of programmes and services. They also allow for illustration of processes and outcomes that cannot be represented in other ways, and this is what makes them valuable. For example, they can detail problems, interventions, implementation and contexts influenced by the MIDAS platform, issues that would not otherwise have been adequately captured by quantitative methods. The following document may be of interest to participants in the MIDAS project. Although initially written as a guideline for health policy makers who focus on the area of tobacco control, it provides some interesting commentary, outlining the rationale for choice of case study approach when evaluating the impact of a unique research programme and other associated considerations.