Getting to Outcomes, 2004: Promoting Accountability through Methods and Tools for Planning, Implementation and Evaluation

By Matthew Chinman; Pamela Imm et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter Eight
QUESTION #8: How Well Did the
Program Work?
(Outcomes)

Definition of an Outcome Evaluation
An outcome evaluation attempts to document whether or not the program caused an improvement among the participants on certain areas of interest (e.g., drug use, risk and protective factors) and by how much.
Why Is Conducting an Outcome Evaluation
Important?
Measuring outcomes provides evidence that your program accomplished its goals. Evaluating the desired outcomes answers important questions such as the following:
Did the program work? Why? Why not?
Should we continue the program?
What can be modified that might make the program more effective?
What evidence proves that funders should continue to spend their money on this program?

How Do You Conduct an Outcome Evaluation?

There are several steps that need to be taken to conduct an outcome evaluation. First, what will be measured needs to be identified. Will it be actual rates of drug and alcohol use? Risk factors associated with drug and alcohol use? Or the adoption of a new antitobacco policy? (Whatever it is, when it is collected, it is often called “data”). Next, the design of the evaluation needs to be set. Deciding on an evaluation design typically establishes who will be measured and when, themselves key aspects of the evaluation. Also, the methods to be used in the evaluation need to be identified, accompanied by a plan to put those methods into place (often called “data collection”).

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