The PARTNER Network Evaluation Framework. 

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The PARTNER Network Evaluation Framework was developed through research and evaluation of over 150 community networks. While the evaluation approach continues to be enhanced as the team learns from ongoing projects, the four primary areas of measurement include: Attribution, Perceptions, Agreement, and Interrelationships. These are built into all PARTNER research and evaluation designs, are foundational in the PARTNER survey, and are used to guide the analysis and assessments. All four of these dimensions help us understand the network, assess the strength of the network, and provide data to inform network leadership (the process of making decision about how to manage your network). Below we briefly describe each one.

– Attribution: Many networks are facilitated and organized by a primary organization, sometimes called a Lead Organization, a Network Administrative Organization, or a Backbone organization. Others are governed by a group of organizations. Regardless, we often want to know how the growth and development of relationships in a network are started and fostered over time. The PARTNER tool (customized) can assess how the growth of relationships in a network are attributed to certain entities.

– Perceptions: An important piece of information for any network leader to understand are the perceptions that members hold of one another, as well as perceptions of the network itself. The PARTNER survey collects data on both of these aspects. Specifically, we learn about the perceptions network members have of one another in terms of the value of the partnership (measured as power/influence, resource contribution, and time commitment) and trust (measured as mission congruence, reliability, and communication).

– Agreement: The extent to which members of a network agree on the way the network is functioning is a key component to network leadership. Whether the members report that the network is or is not achieving its outcomes is as important as whether or not they agree on these assessments. The degree to which a network’s members agree on these assessments is an indicator for a network leader of whether the network is functioning well or not.

– Interrelationships: The actual relationships among members, including the intensity, quality, and content of the relationships tells us about the structure and strength of the network. The PARTNER survey uses standard social network methodology to assess the interrelationships of the network. We can then assess how attribution, perception, and agreement are associated with the structure of the network.

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