Service evaluation is a professional requirement for music therapy practitioners and organisations. Yet service evaluation findings are rarely published within the professional literature, and there is limited documentation of the processes and methods of such evaluations, including the rationale, dilemmas, and challenges encountered. This is perhaps due to the perceived status, methodological weaknesses, and context-specificity of service evaluation work. Drawing on our engagement with service evaluation in diverse settings, we have become aware of its potential beyond its typical current uses in the field as well as of the need for open discussion and debate about the service evaluation tools that are available. This is where the aim of this paper lies: to introduce a service evaluation tool, the Impact Areas Questionnaire (IAQ), alongside the studies that led to its construction. Developed originally through a review of 27 individually designed service evaluation projects, this questionnaire contains a number of different impact areas. Adopting an ecological perspective, these areas refer to music therapy’s perceived impact not only on service users, but also on families/carers/friends, staff, and the organisational context in its entirety. Following its original development within Nordoff Robbins England and Wales, this questionnaire was tested in the context of Nordoff Robbins Scotland with the aim of exploring its applicability and transferability to other music therapy settings. In addition to presenting the findings of this testing, we discuss the potential use of the IAQ, which is included as an appendix to this article, in other settings and its relevance for knowledge and policy making in the field.
- service evaluation
- impact areas
- Impact Areas Questionnaire (IAQ)
- Nordoff Robbins