Appendix 5: Limitations to the evaluation
There are several limitations of the data which should be noted when interpreting the findings in this report. As the Pathfinder activity developed in both sites, new access routes began to emerge. The 'no wrong door' approach meant that families could be referred to services from multiple organisations. However, because this early implementation process evaluation was designed during the very early stages of Pathfinder development, the Dundee drop-in hub and the Glasgow Helps phone line were identified as access points for family member recruitment. This meant that staff in both services were able to support with participant recruitment. In Dundee, a researcher approached family members who were attending the drop-in hub directly, in-person. In Glasgow, a dedicated member of the Glasgow Helps team conducted participant recruitment and provided the research team with contact details for those who had agreed to participate. The approaches taken in both sites differed slightly. The variation in participation methods, however, introduce some limitations to consider in the reading of the family member findings that are presented in chapter 6.
A further limitation of note is that it was not possible to eliminate the potential for sampling bias in the Glasgow parent/carer interviews, and so caution is required in the reading of results. A futher consideration relevant to both sites is that because Pathfinders did not retain information related to the identity of those who had accessed services via the Pathfinders and then disengaged, it was not possible to gather the views of parents/carers who had made initial contact with the Pathfinders, and then refused the support offered. The views presented in chapter 6, therefore, are of those who chose to engage in the support offered.
Participants who took part in the parent/carer interviews were offered a voucher to thank them for their time supporting the research. While this was intended as compensation for time, rather than as an incentive, it is possible that the vouchers offered may have encouraged participation. Mothers aged under 25, with children under two, and families who have disabilities within the household had been identified as priority groups within both Pathfinders, as these are groups known to experience higher than average levels of poverty. Unfortunately, the convenience sampling approach and the reliance on referrals from the Dundee drop-in hub and Glasgow Helps staff, and the voluntary nature of participation, meant that it was not possible to specifically target recruitment to ensure the inclusion of people from these priority groups in the family member interviews. Despite the efforts of the evaluation team and the staff at both sites, these priority groups remain under-represented in the evaluation findings.
The participation of partners and stakeholders from the Glasgow and Dundee Pathfinders were not evenly spread, and there was slightly higher participation in Dundee (n=21) than Glasgow (n=16). Therefore the results should be interpreted in light of this limitation.
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