A mixed-method design was used. Quantitative and qualitative methods are combined to triangulate results from different methods and data sources.
At the core of the methodology is a quasi-experimental design based on cross-sectional surveys. For this purpose, all volunteers who have returned at the time of the evaluation as well as those who were leaving the country, plus a representative comparison group of similar persons from the general population were interviewed in online surveys. Group discussions with returning volunteers also helped to identify factors that were affecting and influencing individual changes that occurred. The discussions also provided information on how volunteers perceive the opportunities and limitations of their commitment.
In order to examine the impact on the environment, among other things, a survey of the friends and families of the volunteers was conducted. In addition, the participating civil society sending organisations were asked about their role in the implementation of the programme and their assessment of weltwärts.
The evaluation was completed at the end of 2017.