How Do I Know It Works?
Effective program evaluation is a systematic way to improve and account for public health actions by involving procedures that are useful, feasible, ethical, and accurate. You need to know both whether the program was implemented as you intended (process measures) and whether change took place (outcome measures). Evaluation – what can be measured – should be done at the planning stage as it can bring your overall goals more clearly into focus. Constant assessment during your campaign allows you to see what is working and to make mid-course adjustments.
Here are the broad areas for evaluation:
- Identify program elements to monitor. Monitoring is often called process evaluation. You will always need to track process variables. To decide which components of the program to monitor, ask yourself who will use the information and how, what resources are available, and whether the data can be collected in a technically sound and ethical manner.
- Select the key evaluation questions and engage stakeholders. Trim your list of potential questions by asking who will use the information and what they care most about. Stakeholders want various kinds of input into evaluation plans, depending on their levels of investment in the program and their interest and experience in program evaluation.
- Determine how the information will be gathered: Choose the data collection method best suited to answering each evaluation question. Bear in mind that good data collection plans often integrate qualitative methods (those that produce descriptive information) with quantitative methods (those that generate numerical data such as frequencies, percentages or rates).
- Develop a data analysis-timetable and budget. The reporting plan should outline how the data for each monitoring and evaluation question will be coded, summarized, and analyzed. Describe how the monitoring and evaluation data will be reported. You also should develop a timetable and budget. Your timeline should cover evaluation activities and program activities.
Other Resources for Evaluation
- What we know about evaluation planning: Evaluation Planning pdf icon[447 KB, 8 pages] – Summary of research regarding Evaluation Planning.
- Assessing Effectiveness and Making Refinementsexternal icon – from NCI’s the “The Pink Book, is another good resource for assessing the success of your effectiveness of your social marketing or health communication plan.