The evaluation component of the project will apply a participatory evaluation method to identify the most valuable dimensions of the research conducted within the CSIs, and indicators taking into account the diverse perspectives of involved stakeholders.

Those participating in the core team of each CSI, both professional and non-professional scientists, will be involved at all stages of the evaluation process. The core team, in fact, will take part not only in the customisation and integration of the evaluation framework, in the identification of evaluation tools and processes and in their implementation, but also in the co-creation of evaluation reports. The evaluation exercise, facilitated by a team of experienced social scientists, will adopt a Developmental Evaluation perspective, fostering equal relationships among all those involved and providing occasions for self-reflection and feedback on the design and management of the CSIs.

The open framework adopted will be tailored to the characteristics and aims of each CSI, and it will also integrate MoRRI and SDGs indicators, as well as other indicators addressing institutional change and sustainability of the initiatives in the long term. Moreover, the evaluation of the CSIs will be designed and implemented as a Citizen Social Science Initiative, which can be considered as an additional and cross-cutting Citizen Science experiment within STEP CHANGE. Citizen Social Science is intended as a form of open and participatory social research directly involving citizens and communities in the research process, including research design and evaluation.