Softly, softly catch the monkey: innovative approaches to measure socially sensitive and complex issues in evaluation research

Many government program evaluations require information to be captured that is hard to measure, of a sensitive nature and difficult for the respondent to articulate. This paper suggests research designs and methodologies to assist in overcoming such problems in evaluation research. Our discussion is illustrated by three evaluation case studies. Suggestions for research design focus on increasing reliability through intersubjective certifiability and the use of triangulated respondent groups, as well as varying the composition of the research team at different stages of the research.