The Program Evaluation KnowledgeBase

Element 1: Plan the Evaluation

Purpose: Planning how to conduct a program evaluation is the essessential the first step. The preparatory thinking involves understanding the program being evaluated, organizing an evaluation team, and determining how to conduct the evaluation. Element 1 outlines the pre-planning tasks.

Activity 1: Understand Evaluation

Activity 2: Organize Evaluation Team

Activity 3: Establish Evaluation Focus

Task 1: Analyze the Data

Guideline: When analyzing the collected data do so within the context of the evaluation questions. Depending on the scope, complexity of the data analysis and available in-house expertise it may be necessary to acquire external statistical assistance to aid with the analysis. External assistance may be particularly useful if the program being evaluated stirs emotions among the stakeholders.

Data Verification Checklist

This form presents a short set of questions to answer prior to proceeding with the analysis of data. It is also good to consider any variances prior to preparing a report of findings.

Alternate format: PDF

Questions to Ask Before Analyzing Your Data

This checklist from the Learning Technology Dissemination Initiative's Evaluation Cookbook contains a series of suggested questions evaluators should ask themselves before they start analyzing data.

Ethical Guidelines for Statistical Practice

This American Statistical Association document encourages ethical and effective statistical work.

Statistics Every Writer Should Know

This resource describes in "plain English, some basic concepts in statistics that every writer should know."

Analyzing Qualitative Data

This link to Part II Chapter 4 of the National Science Foundation's User-Friendly Handbook for Mixed Method Evaluations addresses analyzing qualitative data and offers practical advice for conducting such analysis.

Just Plain Data Analysis

This link is to the companion website to the book Just Plain Data Analysis authored by Gary Klass, Department of Politics and Government, Illinois State University. The website addresses research design, data collection, data analysis, and data presentation employed in empirical social science research.

Qualitative Data Analysis

This thirteen page document is one of eighteen lectures based on the book Educational Research Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Approaches. The lectures were written by the author as a supplement to the text. This lecture describes various methods of analyzing qualitative data. It includes instructions for coding data including several examples.

Element 2: Implement the Evaluation

Purpose: Conducting the evaluation involves designing data collection so the analysis and interpretation will answer the questions the evaluation sets out to resolve. When developing and implementing the evaluation design be flexible to collect and analyze data from many perspectives. The collected data should be attentive to the evaluation questions. Element 2 outlines the tasks associated with implementing the evaluation.

Activity 1: Data Collection

Activity 2: Understanding the Data

Activity 3: Report the Results

Element 3: Use the Results

Purpose: The evaluation's findings and recommendation have limited value unless they are shared with the stakeholders and utilized to improve the evaluated program. Using the results to improve the evaluated program and communicating with constituencies are activities that occur in parallel. Element 3 outlines the tasks associated with using the results.

Activity 1: Communicate with Constituencies

Activity 2: Use Results to Improve