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 to be evaluated. Any initiative can be nominated, whether or not it is funded by DASH.
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 interviews are conducted with the program manager for each initiative that meets the inclusion criteria. Based on the interviews 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, interviews are conducted with key stakeholders and observations are made to gain a better understanding of the initiative and how it is implemented. 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, readiness for evaluation, and 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 providing incentives for participation and hiring on-site staff to assist with data collection and other evaluation logistics. DASH is also responsible for conducting data analysis and disseminating findings through final reports and published manuscripts.
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