Eliciting stories of gender-transformative change: Investigating the effectiveness of question prompt formulations in qualitative gender assessments

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Evaluations of gender equality initiatives in development programmes traditionally assess cognitive dimensions such as knowledge, attitudes, and awareness; and often rely solely on women’s perspectives. Leveraging story-based evaluation methods, this article explores the assessment of complex gender-transformations and focuses on effective question prompts to elicit significant and meaningful narratives of change from both women and men. In collaboration with a development programme in Cambodia, a staff assessment process led to a set of criteria for considering the quality of respondent stories and testing the efficacy of four different question prompts (n = 176): verb-, value-, sphere-, and theme-based. Highlighting aspects of embodiment, the study suggests that verb-based prompts were the most effective at eliciting stories that reflect diverse experiences of both women and men in processes of gender-transformation. Findings from our analysis can support evaluators in balancing simplicity and specificity of questions in assessing the unique experiences of individuals undergoing complex change.
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