The following paragraphs provide details on PhD research striving to build an effective evaluation framework for community archaeology.

Research Questions

The primary research question is:

  • How can stakeholders evaluate the contributions and impact of community engagement in cultural heritage management for all involved (i.e. heritage, community, project leaders, funder)?

This overarching research question draws on two underpinning sub-questions:

  • How can stakeholders collectively define ‘success’ before commencement and evaluate the project’s success on completion?
  • Can the created framework help funders deliver on core principles?

Research Aims

This research aims to produce a usable evaluation framework for community archaeology. To achieve this aim and answer the aforementioned research questions, several objectives will need to be met. The objectives for this research are:

  • Conduct a literature review of the practice of community archaeology and its history, gaining a foundational understanding of this methodology and defining ‘community archaeology’ for this project
  • Review existing evaluation models and guidance within and outside of archaeology
  • Host focus groups with practitioners, funders, and community members to learn what needs evaluating, how to evaluate effectively, and what each stakeholder wants in an evaluation framework. Synthesize the results
  • Create an evaluation framework based on focus group findings
  • Gather wider feedback from the public through developing a website and online questionnaires. Synthesize the results and feed into evaluation framework drafts
  • Test the evaluation framework on case studies, revise accordingly, and test again
  • Synthesize the results and analyse the success of the framework
  • Share the produced evaluation framework widely with practitioners, funders, and community members


The University of Southampton Ethics Committee reviewed and approved this methodology under submission number 61710.2A. All data gathered through focus groups, piloting the evaluation, and this website will be anonymized. 


Thank you to the Public Engagement Research Unit for supporting this research through their Public & Community Engagement (PCE) Development Fund. Thank you to the Humanities Department Research Fund for facilitating data analysis through purchasing software.

This project is always interested in learning about and applying to additional funding opportunities.

About the Researcher

This research is for Makanani Bell‘s PhD thesis under the supervision of Dr Fraser Sturt, Dr Lucy Blue, and Dr Dan Ashton.