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We are starting our study by addressing all projects and networks which have been defined by the European Commission as our sampling basis: that is, Multilateral Projects which started in 2006, 2007 and 2008; and Multilateral Networks which started in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Our work will be moving gradually towards gaining deeper insights into the researched areas, based on smaller, carefully selected and balanced sub-samples of this basis. The sampling process will be based on the information and experiences the research team will have collected and evaluated at the preceding stages of the study.

This ‘funnel’ approach (see the diagram below) aims to provide us with an initial overview of the landscape, and gradually narrow down, sharpen and deepen the focus of the impact study. 

The ‘funnel-shaped’ research approach


At the starting point of our field study, there are two key initiatives:

a) an invitation to the coordinators and partners of all targeted projects (Multilateral Projects which started in 2006, 2007 and 2008; and Multilateral Networks which started in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009) to respond to an online survey; and

b) a first-level, basic recording and monitoring of the websites of all targeted projects.

Based on the outcomes of these, at the next stage a balanced sample of 80 projects and networks (72 Multilateral Projects and 8 Multilateral Networks) will be selected to provide the basis for the deeper qualitative investigation of the researched areas. At this level, the project will:

a) carry out interviews with selected online respondents and other identified key individuals;

b) record, categorise and analyse the tangible outcomes of the sampled projects; and

c) perform a quantitative analysis of usage at the websites of the projects that will agree to provide the researchers with access to this information.

On this basis, the research team will analyse the gathered evidence and will provide the results of the first level of the qualitative impact study, reporting them to the European Commission in the interim report.

At the next level of the research, the team will focus on a smaller sub-sample of interesting cases, whereby it will:

a) initiate and facilitate web-based self-reflection and exchange activities involving interested informants (project coordinators and/or partners, as well as project beneficiaries where and when possible); and

b) carry out in-depth analysis of 28 case studies reflecting both examples of good practice as well as cases highlighting the challenges and opportunities faced.

The rich insights into the researched areas that will emerge through this gradual process will inform the final report of the study and the recommendations to the European Commission.

All non-confidential information about the researched projects, and structured, organized access to their resources and outcomes, will be available to the general public through the inventory.