Introduction: Unlike other forms of evaluation, social return on investment (SROI) methodology offers a way of placing values on personal, social and community outcomes, not just economic outcomes. Developed in 2000, there have been calls for greater academic involvement in development of SROI, which to date has been more typically implemented in-house or by consultants. This protocol describes a systematic review of SROI analysis conducted on health and social care programmes which represent a significant sector of social enterprise internationally. The aims of the systematic review are to (1) identify the extent to which academics have adopted SROI methodology, (2) how academics have interpreted, used and developed SROI methodology and (3) to assess the quality of studies published under peer review.
Methods and analysis: The systematic review will include peer-reviewed studies since 2000 published in English. Search terms will be 'social return on investment' or 'SROI'. Health and social care interventions will be identified in the initial screening given the proliferation of possible key words in these areas. Databases to be searched include Web of Science, Scopus, Medline, Social Care Online and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Two reviewers will independently conduct initial screening based on titles and abstracts against the inclusion criteria. Data extracted will include date of intervention, country, study design, aim of intervention/programme, participants and setting, health and social care measures used, and SROI ratio. The quality of studies will be assessed by two reviewers using a SROI quality framework designed for the purpose of this study.
Ethics and dissemination: The systematic review will review existing published academic literature; as such, ethics approval is not required for this study. A paper of the systematic review will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal.
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- health programmes
- investment analysis
- social return
- systematic review