Process evaluation explores the implementation process of a program. This approach is useful to evaluate program activities and identify any necessary improvements or changes.
Process evaluation can help you to:
- Document how a program works
- Remedy sources of student, client, or staff complaints
- Understand the impact of program changes
- Eliminate inefficiencies in program operations
- Determine if the program is operating according to established policy
Questions addressed by a process evaluation might include:
- How well is the program being implemented and what are the barriers to implementation?
- To what extent is staff prepared to implement the program?
- How is staff trained?
- How do students or clients enter into the program? How do they exit?
- How do students/clients use program services?
- What does the program do well? What is not being done well?
- What are typical complaints from staff and/or students/clients?
- Are established program policies and procedures being followed?
- Are program resources being used efficiently?
Planning and implementation
The most effective process evaluations begin when a program begins, therefore plan the evaluation when a program is in development stages. Process evaluation ideally is an ongoing process, involving planning, data gathering, and analysis. One way to facilitate implementation is to use the program evaluation process featured on this website.
It is particularly important to spend time planning your evaluation to make sure it focuses on the most critical questions you wish to answer. Follow the program evaluation planning steps to help focus your evaluation and use the appropriate data gathering techniques.
McNamara, C. (1998). Basic guide to program evaluation. Retrieved November 28, 2006 from http://www.mapnp.org/library/evaluatn/fnl_eval.htm
Russ-Eft, D. and H. Preskill. (2001). Evaluation in Organizations: A systematic approach to enhancing learning, performance, and change. New York: Basic Books.