Workstream 2 (research question/s 2) – Documentation, analysis and evaluation (Emic)
A mixed-methods approach to evaluation and analysis of the workshops and video documentation will allow for the triangulation of multiple data sources to understand change and the integration of first and third person perspectives. Each recruited school will be paired with another similar educational setting that will act as wait-list control group (engaging in ‘activities as usual’) and will take part in the workshop activities at a later date. This enables statistical evaluation of any changes brought about (through examining effect sizes), maximising confidence that any benefits are attributable to the workshop practices (research question/s 2.1, 2.2 & 2.3).
Standardised baseline measures will be collected at the start and end of each workshop and at a comparable time point from the wait-list comparison group. To assess maintenance of any gains, follow up measures will be completed by members of both groups 1 month after the intervention. Additional data will be gained through conducting focus groups and semi-structured interviews and analysing findings using inductive thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006), to inform workshop delivery and evaluation. Students will complete self-reflexive diaries concerning the workshops providing a more intimate measure of change.
To identify what specific aspects of the participatory arts practices workshops autistic girls themselves find beneficial, and what may be clinically and/or educationally meaningful to assess in terms of positive change, we will develop, field test and refine a participatory arts inductive outcome measure (P/ARTS/OM) to be used alongside standardised assessments. This responds to feedback from the autistic Steering Group that existing outcome measures often fail to consider the perspectives of autistic individuals. Following McDermott et al. (2015), we will collate qualitative data gathered from practitioners and teachers in Phase 1 with data gathered from the participants (via interviews, focus groups and reflective diaries). This ensures both first and third person perspectives are included. Inductive content analysis will identify what these groups found, or observed to be, of benefit from the workshops.