This paper describes the development of an evaluation framework to document the process, impact and outcomes of a community‐based mental health promotion project. This initiative, the Rural Mental Health Project, is concerned with the promotion of positive mental health in rural communities in the Republic and Northern Ireland. As a community‐based initiative, this project involves multi‐component interventions that are implemented with diverse target groups across a range of community settings. Assessing the process of programme implementation is critical in order to capture and document the realities of programme planning and implementation. The evaluation approach adopted in this project is based on a logic model research paradigm (Scheirer et al, 1995). This model gives equal emphasis to process and outcome evaluation and seeks to relate the realities of programme implementation to intended programme outcomes. Project activity is tracked prospectively in order to examine the detail of actual programme delivery and its influence on expected project outcomes. This paper outlines the model as applied in this project and explores the methodological and practical challenges in evaluating complex community interventions.
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