A Framework for Program Evaluation
Effective program evaluation is a systematic way to improve and account for public health actions. Evaluation involves procedures that are useful, feasible, ethical, and accurate.
See the original 1999 MMWR article, Framework for Program Evaluation in Public Health for more about how the framework was developed.
Or, click on the following for more details:
- Scope and definitions
- Hints for Conducting Strong Evaluations
- Materials and Resources Based on the Framework
- Other Evaluation Resources
The term "program" is used in the framework to describe any organized public health action. Programs can include, among others:
- Direct service interventions
- Community mobilization efforts
- Research initiatives
- Surveillance systems
- Policy development activities
- Outbreak investigations
- Laboratory diagnostics
- Communication campaigns
- Infrastructure building projects
- Training and education services
- Administrative systems
Evaluation is the systematic investigation of the merit, worth or significance of an object (Scriven, 1999), hence assigning “value” to a program’s efforts means addressing those three inter-related domains:
- Merit (or quality)
- Worth (or value, i.e., cost-effectiveness)
- Significance (or importance)
A strong evaluation approach ensures that the following questions will be addressed as part of the evaluation so that the value of program efforts can be determined and judgments about value can be made on the basis of evidence:
- What will be evaluated? (i.e., what is "the program" and in what context does it exist?)
- What aspects of the program will be considered when judging program performance?
- What standards (i.e., type or level of performance) must be reached for the program to be considered successful?
- What evidence will be used to indicate how the program has performed?
- What conclusions regarding program performance are justified by comparing the available evidence to the selected standards?
- How will the lessons learned from the inquiry be used to improve public health effectiveness?
CDC’s evaluation framework provides a systematic way to approach and answer these questions using a set of 6 steps and 4 standards.
Tom Chapel, Chief Evaluation Officer
Evaluation Team, Office of the Associate Director for Program
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd
Atlanta, GA 30333
TTY: (888) 232-6348
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