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Steps in Program Evaluation -Key Planning Activitieshand drawings of words describing the development of an evaluation plan

Program evaluation results are only valuable if they are used.  The goal of program evaluation is to inform the program development process. 

Program evaluation planning is critical an evaluation is efficient and effective in measuring the key variables that will provides the information needed to describe actual program delivery methods, audience reached and outcomes.  All rigorous evaluations should be able to identify areas for program enhancement and improvement. 

When Planning and Managing an Evaluation Remember to Consider:

  • Protection of Human Subjects (Are there risks to participants? Will you need to apply for IRB approval?)
  • Timeline (How and when will evaluation data be collected and analyzed?)
  • Responsibilities (Who does what and when?)
  • Budget

Step 1: Engage stakeholders

  • What kind of data is the most valuable to stakeholders?
  • How can stakeholders assist with the program evaluation?

Step 2: Focus

  • Describe program - use the logic model
  • Define purpose
  • Determine use/users
  • Determine key questions
  • Select indicators
  • Determine design

Step 3: Collect data

  • Identify sources
  • Select method(s)
  • Pilot test
  • Set schedule
  • Determine sample

Step 4: Analyze and interpret

  • Process data
  • Analyze
  • Interpret data
  • What did you learn?
  • What are the limitations?

  Step 5: Use

  • Share findings and lessons learned
  • Use in decision-making
  • Determine next steps

Remember to only collect the data that you will actually use.

Standards of Evaluation Include:

  • Utility (Is the data you collect usable and helpful in answering your evaluation questions?)
  • Feasibility (Can you actually collect the data?)
  • Propriety (Is the collection of different types of data ethical?)
  • Accuracy (Does the evaluation plan include the structure and support to insure that your data is credible?) 

Related Links

Back to Program Evaluation Roadmap