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Evaluate programs

Planning steps

This step-by-step guide to designing a program evaluation is based on the CTL Program Evaluation Process. It is designed primarily for university program managers or individuals needing assistance in developing evaluation plans for grant projects.

By following the guide, you will create an evaluation plan customized to your needs. While some of the tasks may seem self-evident, all are necessary to create a valid evaluation. Even those with experience in social science or educational research will likely find the process helpful as it may suggest different approaches to program evaluation than those that are most familiar.

STEP 1: Describe the program context

Record program and service recipient characteristics using Worksheet D. Use the information recorded on Worksheet D to inform your evaluation questions and purpose (Steps 2 & 3).

View a completed example of Worksheet D.

STEP 2: Identify stakeholders and their needs

Using Worksheet E, identify all stakeholders, their needs, and what questions they have related to the program. Identify any questions that more than one stakeholder is likely to have. Choose the top 1-3 questions to be the focus of your evaluation. These are the central questions of your evaluation.

View a completed example of Worksheet E.

STEP 3: Determine the evaluation purpose using central questions

Write each of your central questions in the first column of Worksheet F. Adjust phrasing as necessary. In column two of Worksheet F, circle the evaluation purpose of each central question you listed.

View a completed example of Worksheet F.

STEP 4: Identify how you will use the evaluation results

Identify how you will use the results (answers) for each of your central questions. Uses should directly relate to the evaluation’s purpose. Record how you will use the results for each central question in the third column of Worksheet F.

STEP 5: Choose the appropriate evaluation method(s) and plan implementation

The assessment plan is a detailed description of how the research will be implemented. Use the method selection tool, to help you determine the best way to gather your data.

View an example evaluation plan for an instructional technology program
View an example needs evaluation plan for the UT Fine Arts Library
View an example program evaluation plan for a K-12 program

Page last updated: Sep 21 2011
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