Monitoring & evaluation


The rigorous evaluation of programmes is vital to understanding impact, determining value for money, and prioritising resources. As the scale of counter-extremism work worldwide grows, ensuring that our efforts are based on evidence becomes ever more important.

Yet measuring the impact of counter-extremism programmes and policies is a complex process, not least because of the difficulty of assessing behavioural change, the connection between offline and online actions and the controversial and sensitive nature of the subject matter.

ISD’s research team includes highly experienced evaluation experts, who design and implement robust impact assessment strategies for offline education programmes, as well as online campaigns and interventions. Drawing upon significant experience in identifying proxy indicators for resilience across a range of disciplines, ISD evaluators design innovative impact questionnaires and regularly trial new and original evaluation approaches. ISD researchers also have extensive experience in the evaluation of civil society projects and programmes in a vast array of national contexts, and can provide expert consultancy and evaluation services to civil society actors working in this space.

In addition to innovative offline evaluation design, ISD has been at the cutting edge of the evaluation of online communications campaigns beyond reach and engagement metrics. ISD was a partner in the development of a unique social listening tool that is calibrated specifically to assess the behavioural impact of online information campaigns. In addition to the results from ISD online evaluations, which can be read here, we also seek to provide guidance to civil society organisations for how they can design and measure the impact of their campaigns.


Resource links

Team
Jonathan Birdwell
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Jonathan Birdwell

Head of Policy & Research

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Jonathan Birdwell
Jonathan Birdwell

Head of Policy & Research

Jonathan is Head of Policy & Research at ISD, overseeing ISD’s policy work and networks including the Policy Planners’ Network and the Strong Cities Network, as well as overseeing ISD’s work on education policy and programming. On the research side, Jonathan oversees ISD’s research and primary datasets, programme monitoring and evaluation, and edits all of ISD’s written outputs. Since starting at ISD in 2015, Jonathan has overseen the launch and expansion of the Strong Cities Network from 25 to over 110 cities from every global region and growing. In addition to convening Global Summits in Turkey and Denmark, bringing together over 800 practitioners from nearly 75 countries, Jonathan leads on an exciting Strong Cities capacity building project in the Middle East, supported by the Danish Government. Overseeing a growing ISD team in the Middle East, Jonathan has worked closely with ISD Regional Manager Khadije Nasser to build six new ‘Prevention Networks’ and provide training to over 90 local stakeholders across six municipalities in Lebanon and Jordan. On research, Jonathan is currently focused on building out ISD’s unique partnerships and online analytic technology and capabilities to provide up-to-date understanding of extremist propaganda and recruitment tactics in addition to the evaluation of online campaigns and ISD’s online one-to-one interventions. Prior to joining ISD, Jonathan was Head of Programme at the UK cross-party think tank Demos, where he published over forty research reports on topics including violent extremism both Islamist (The Edge of Violence, 2010) and Far-Right (The New Face of Digital Populism, 2011). Jonathan has also written extensively on education (The Forgotten Half, 2011), social and emotional learning (Character Nation, 2015), youth social action and attitudes towards politics (Tune In, Turn Out, 2014), digital politics and marketing (Like, Share, Vote, 2014), trust in government (Trust in Practice, 2010) and religion and integration (Rising to the Top, 2015), among other topics. Jonathan holds a Master’s degree (with distinction) from the London School of Economics and Political Science as well as Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Philosophy from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Louis Reynolds
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Louis Reynolds

Policy & Research Manager

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Louis Reynolds
Louis Reynolds

Policy & Research Manager

Louis Reynolds is a Policy & Research Manager at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Louis works across counter-extremism education, research and policy within the Institute, and is currently developing new educational approaches to build resilience to extremism online in the UK and internationally. Louis also works to develop the Monitoring and Evaluation of counter-extremism programmes, and on a range of other international counter-extremism projects and collaborations including the Policy Planner’s Network. Louis was previously a Researcher at the UK cross-party think tank Demos, where he undertook research on extremism and social and emotional education among other topics. He holds a Masters in Intelligence and International Security from Kings College London and a Bachelors in War Studies from Birmingham University.