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Steps in Conducting a Applied Evaluation

  1. Nomination of initiatives.

    Staff from CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) select types of initiatives warranting further investigation that seek to improve the health and well-being of our nation’s youth. Once a type of initiative has been selected, DASH solicits nominations for specific initiatives. Depending on the topic and evaluation questions of interest, nominations may be limited to DASH-funded partners.

  2. Selection of initiatives for evaluability assessment.

    Once nominations are received by DASH, they are screened using a set of inclusion and exclusion criteria that are specific to the type of initiative. Telephone conversations are held with the program manager for each initiative that meets the inclusion criteria. Based on the conversations and nomination materials, summaries of each initiative are prepared and shared with experts in the specific topic area. These experts are responsible for selecting the initiatives that receive an evaluability assessment.

  3. Completion of evaluability assessments.

    An evaluability assessment includes a two-day site visit. During the site visit, members of the evaluation team meet with initiative staff and key stakeholders to gain a better understanding of the initiative and how it is implemented. In addition, the evaluation team seeks to learn more about existing evaluation activities, the approvals necessary for conducting evaluation in the site, and the site’s interest in participating in an applied evaluation. At the end of the site visit, a report is prepared that summarizes the visit, documents the main components of the initiative, and discusses the initiative’s potential for evaluation. The site has an opportunity to review the report for accuracy.

  4. Selection of initiative for applied evaluation.

    Each site visit report is shared with senior managers within DASH, who make final decisions on which initiatives receive applied evaluations. Factors included in these decisions are the initiative’s plausibility, feasibility, and readiness for evaluation. Other considerations include the site’s willingness and ability to facilitate access to initiative participants, staff, and other stakeholders for data collection, and the availability of resources within DASH.

  5. Implementation of the applied evaluation.

    Once selected for an evaluation, DASH staff, an evaluation contractor, and the selected site collaborate to design an evaluation that meets the site’s needs. The selected site is asked to participate in the evaluation study for 12–24 months and approves all aspects of the evaluation. In addition, staff at the site are involved in recruiting participants and collecting data.

    DASH and its evaluation contractor provide support to initiatives for applied evaluations by hiring on-site staff to assist with data collection and other evaluation logistics, and, when appropriate, providing incentives for participation. DASH is also responsible for conducting data analysis and disseminating findings through final reports and published manuscripts.