New to the world of evaluation? What is your boss talking about when she says she wants you to measure outcomes, not outputs? What is an indicator? How many responses should you get from your surveys?
Sometimes people think evaluation is just the form that you fill out at the end of a class or event. But in fact evaluation can start at the beginning of the project when you do a community assessment and evaluation includes building support for your project from your stakeholders. And it continues through making an evaluation plan as part of your project, gathering data, analyzing data, and reporting the data back to the stakeholders in a way that it is useful. Here is a model that the CDC uses to describe the evaluation framework:
The Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC) has a series of three booklets entitled Planning and Evaluating Health Information Outreach Projects that guide people through the evaluation process, from needs assessment to analyzing data. While focusing on “health information outreach” this series of books can be used to learn how to do evaluation for any type of project.
- Getting organized: literature review; assembling team of advisors; taking an inventory; developing evaluation questions
- Gathering information: primary data; secondary data, and publicly accessible databases
- Assembling, Interpreting and Acting: summarizing data and keeping stakeholders involved
Booklet 2: Planning Outcomes-Based Outreach Projects
- Planning your program with a logic model to connect activities to outcomes
- Planning your process assessment
- Developing an outcomes assessment plan, using indicators, objectives and an action plan
Booklet 3: Collecting and Analyzing Evaluation Data
- Designing data collection methods; collecting data; summarizing and analyzing data for:
- Quantitative methods
- Qualitative methods
The books can be read in HTML, downloaded as a PDF or physical booklets can be ordered for free from the OERC by sending an email request to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn more about the CDC’s Evaluation Framework: http://www.cdc.gov/eval/framework/