what resources are available to conduct the evaluation?

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what resources are available to conduct the evaluation?

what resources are available to conduct the evaluation?
what resources are available to conduct the evaluation?

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Hiring an outside eval- uator ca n be expensive, whi le having a staff person conduct the evaluation m ay be less expensive. So, in a sense, you may be trading credibility for less cost. In fact, each method- ological decision will have a trade-off in credibility, level of information, and resources (including time and mo ney). Also, t he amount and level of infor mation as well as the research design \ .. ciU be determined, to some e11.”1ent, by what resources are available. A comprehensive and rigorous eval uation does take significant resources.

Third, where will the information come from? If an eval uation can be done using exist- ing data, the cost will be lower than if data must be collected from numerous people such as clien ts and/or staff across m ultiple sites. So having some sense of where the data will come from is important.

Fou rth, when is the evaluation information needed? In o ther wo rds, what is the time- fra me for the evaluation? The timeframe will affect costs and design of research methods.

Fifth, why is the evaluation being conducted? Is the evaluation being conducted at the request of th e fun ding so urce? Is it being cond ucted to improve services? Is it being con- ducted to document the cost-benefit trade-off of the program? If future program funding decisions will depend on the results of the evaluation, then a lot more importance will be attache d to it than 1f a new manager simply wants to know whether clients were satisfied with services. The more that is riding on an evaluation, the more attention will be given to the methodology and the more threa tened staff ca n be, especially if they think that th e purp ose of the evaluation is to down size and trim excess employees. In other words, there arc many reasons an evaluation is being considered, and these reasons may have implica- tions for the evaluati on methodology and implemen tation.

Once the issues described above have been considered, more complex questions and trade-offs will be needed in planning the evaluation. Specifically, six ma in issues guide and shape the design of any program evaluation effort and m ust be given thoughtful and delib erate consideration.

L Defining the goal of the program evaluation

2. Un dersta ndi ng the level of infor mation needed for the program evaluation

3. Determining the methods and analysis that need to be used for the program evaluation

4. Consider in g issues that might a ri se and strategies to keep the eval uation on course

5. Developing results into a useful fo rm at for the program stakeholders

6. Providing practical and useful feedback about the program strengths and weak- nesses as well as providing infor matio n about next steps