Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Sport, Leisure & Childhood Studies

First Advisor

Dr Tara Coppinger

Second Advisor

Joan Dinneen


Large multi-site school-based interventions are challenging to implement and difficult to evaluate due to the complex adaptive nature of schools as a research setting. This study focused on implementing a comprehensive process evaluation of a multicomponent primary school-based health promotion called Project Spraoi (PS), alongside intervention delivery, to aid the translation of outcomes and understand the moderating role of contextual factors on intervention delivery. PS is led by a physical activity (PA) specialist known as an Energizer and aims to improve children’s PA levels and reduce sedentary time by delivering 20 minutes extra daily moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA) during the school day, alongside implementing healthy eating lessons to improve children’s nutritional knowledge. The methods for process evaluation used in this study were guided by the three themes outlined by Moore et al., (2015); (i) implementation, (ii) context and (iii) mechanisms of impact. Themes were further subcategorised into six evaluation dimensions; (i) barriers and facilitators, (ii) adaptations, (iii) fidelity, (iv) dose delivered, (v) activities, and (vi) interactions. A variety of evaluation tools developed for PS were piloted and refined in one school (school A) during the first year of this study (2014/15), before being applied to all active intervention schools (n=5) in the following academic year (2015/16). Triangulation of findings was achieved by using multiple tools to measure the same evaluation dimension and the inclusion of a large sample of diverse stakeholders, including teachers (n=74), school support staff (n=30), Energizers (n=5), and children (n=582). This study found that there was significant variability in how PS was delivered across schools and that fidelity to PS was generally low with the mean amount of extra daily MVPA delivered by teachers varying between 10.39 and 16.22 minutes/day. Contextual factors including a lack of time due to curriculum constraints and limited access to facilities inhibited the delivery of PS, while the Energizer was recognised as having a moderating role as the main facilitator to PS. Most importantly, the learnings from this study contribute to the literature a set of guidelines and support tools to aid future researchers in planning and implementing a robust process evaluation in a primary school setting.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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