Six connected steps together can be used as a starting point to tailor an evaluation for a particular public health effort, at a particular point in time. An order exists for fulfilling each step – in general, the earlier steps provide the foundation for subsequent progress.
The options at each step are many – there are many potential levels of detail to a logic model, countless potential stakeholders, and a large number of potential ways to gather evidence. The Framework asks you to apply each of the 4 groups of evaluation standards as a “lens” to help isolate the best approaches at each step.
Engage stakeholders, including those involved in program operations; those served or affected by the program; and primary users of the evaluation.
Describe the program
Describe the program, including the need, expected effects, activities, resources, stage, context and logic model.
Focus the evaluation design
Focus the evaluation design to assess the issues of greatest concern to stakeholders while using time and resources as efficiently as possible. Consider the purpose, users, uses, questions, methods and agreements.
Gather credible evidence
Gather credible evidence to strengthen evaluation judgments and the recommendations that follow. These aspects of evidence gathering typically affect perceptions of credibility: indicators, sources, quality, quantity and logistics.
Justify conclusions by linking them to the evidence gathered and judging them against agreed-upon values or standards set by the stakeholders. Justify conclusions on the basis of evidence using these five elements: standards, analysis/synthesis, interpretation, judgment and recommendations.
Ensure use and share lessons learned
Ensure use and share lessons learned with these steps: design, preparation, feedback, follow-up and dissemination. For additional details, see Ensuring Use and Sharing Lessons Learned as well as a checklist of items to consider when developing evaluation reports.