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Mitchell, Andrew
Lemon, Mark
Fletcher, Gavin
Year of Publication: 
[Journal:] The Central European Review of Economics and Management (CEREM) [ISSN:] 2544-0365 [Volume:] 3 [Issue:] 3 [Year:] 2019 [Pages:] 129-167
Aim: There is little good practice guidance with respect to methods and skills for conducting lessons learned evaluations of community-based development projects. In this paper we utilise a mixed methods approach to evaluate the lessons learned by the team members and stakeholders of a funded five year 'test-and-learn' sustainability initiative. The approach combines a statistical and a qualitative thematic analysis of transcribed textual data and presents an analytic framework with which to track the lessons learned by community development projects.  Design/ Research methods:A mixed methods approach combining text and sentiment mining complemented by a qualitative thematic analysis is applied to the same data collected from stakeholder responses to an on-line survey and the transcribed audio recordings of four focus groups in which stakeholders participated. Conclusions/ findings:Employing replicable tools, augmented by qualitative research methods, provide a framework for a systematic approach to elicit and capture lessons learned by a sustainable community development project. These bear on how project activities, from engagement to supporting the local food economy, have been experienced by stakeholders and their learning acquired over the course of the project. Implications for future project design and funding options are considered. Originality/ value of the article:Despite the evident value of its contribution to improving project design and funding options, the evaluation of lessons learned in community-based sustainability work remains under-researched. The combined use of text and sentiment mining techniques with qualitative thematic analysis on the same data offers an original contribution to research in this field.
lessons learned
community development
sustainability policy
project management
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