Three recognised research methods were brought together to try to answer the above issues as fully as possible.
1. An ethnographic approach started the process with the evaluator attending the Adoption Activity Day as a participant observer. The purpose was to observe the process. I was identifiable to all adults and children and my role outlined very briefly. I joined in as appropriate and blended as a volunteer in any role needed. I made notes from time to time but not obviously. I attended an Adoption Exchange Day and spoke with social workers and foster carers. I attended planning groups and a small advisory group set up specifically to comment and contribute to this evaluation.
2. Qualitative interviews and questionnaires were used for adults taking part with different schedules for prospective adopters, foster carers, social work staff and volunteers.
3. Quantitative data was gathered, e.g. the numbers invited, who came, broad geographical spread, numbers of children, age range. Outcome data in terms of who did attend. Data on the financial and organisational elements which would contribute to future planning of further events.
The evaluation was guided by ethical research principles in research work with adults and children. There was not time to set up a steering group for this project, however there was a small advisory group of experienced adoption practitioners which considered the experiences and themes and commented on the draft report.