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Introduction to Program Evaluation
Resources in this section provide an introduction to program evaluation and offer guidelines for managers for building an evaluation approach for their agencies or programs.
Critical Issues in Evaluating Child Welfare Programs (PDF - 85 KB)
James Bell Associates (2009)
Examines difficulties that many child welfare discretionary grantees have experienced and reviews a range of strategies to counteract those issues, including suggestions from grantees based on lessons learned. The report includes a discussion of common challenges.
The Program Manager's Guide to Evaluation
Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Explains program evaluation—what it is, why it is important, how to do it, and how to use it to improve programs that benefit children and families.
W.K. Kellogg Foundation Evaluation Handbook
W.K. Kellogg Foundation (2004)
Describes how to create project evaluations that improve the way projects deliver services, improve project management, and help project directors see problems more clearly and discover new avenues for growth.
Agency-Based Program Evaluation
Baker & Charvat (2008)
In Research Methods in Child Welfare
Presents what to consider when preparing to conduct a program evaluation. The article reviews differences between formative and summative evaluations, and prospective and retrospective evaluations.
American Evaluation Association
Provides resources to help apply program evaluation. The site offers links to a collection of instruments and tools, online resources, and publications such as the American Journal of Evaluation, which requires membership.
Basic Guide to Program Evaluation
Adapted from Field Guide to Nonprofit Program Design, Marketing and Evaluation
Provides step-by-step guidance for planning and implementing an evaluation process for nonprofit or for-profit programs.
Evaluating Privatized Child Welfare Programs: A Guide for Program Managers
Supplies child welfare agency administrators and program managers with guidance on evaluating privatization initiatives. The guide highlights features of program evaluation and describes the tasks that ensure a successful and effective evaluation. (PDF - 214 KB)
Prevention Pathways: Evaluation for the Unevaluated: Program Evaluation 101 and 102
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention
Presents a two-part series of online tutorials about program evaluation. Evaluation 101 explains the basics of program evaluation, including the purposes, components, and types. Evaluation 102 outlines the role of evaluation in program planning, data analysis, and what to consider for evaluating prevention programs.
Evaluation Resource Center
Explains concepts and processes of program evaluation for nonprofits, including a glossary, brief history, steps for developing an evaluation plan, and data collection methods.
Laying the Foundation: Tips for Conducting Program Evaluations (PDF - 173 KB)
Provides quarterly tip sheets designed for program managers and staff. Tip sheets list 12 steps for creating a solid evaluation, including: identifying key audiences and their needs, building a logic model, information collection procedures, and determining the best methods to share results.
The Program Evaluation Kit
Outlines a series of nine books written to guide practitioners in planning and managing evaluations.
SAMMIE: Successful Assessment Methods and Measurement in Evaluation
Ohio State University
Provides online training on all aspects of program evaluation through 22 modules. The site requires users to register and log in.