• effectiveness;
  • evaluation;
  • inequalities;
  • nursing research;
  • partnership

This paper details the findings from a project that assessed the contribution made by nurses, midwives and health visitors to targeting health and social need. This is an important theme within the Northern Ireland Regional Strategy entitled ‘Health and well-being into the next millennium: a regional strategy for health and social well-being 1997–2002’, which is concerned with addressing inequalities in health status and social well-being. In response to this initial survey, the paper also highlights the second phase of the project that was the development of an evaluation manual specifically designed to assist health-care practitioners in establishing evaluation frameworks and in applying evaluation techniques and methods. The paper describes four research case studies that are intended to illustrate the kinds of evaluation methods necessary to cover the stages of evaluation, needs assessment, structure, process and outcome, and to reflect the experience of applied evaluation as it occurs in practice as opposed to how it appears in textbooks.