Evaluation and Improvement

One decision that must be made before you begin your evaluation is who will conduct it. Evaluation is best thought of as a team effort. Although one individual heads the team and has primary responsibility for the project, this person will need aid and cooperation from others. You may tap into evaluation professionals within your agency or hire a contractor to develop the evaluation, but you should not expect this professional to implement it alone. The evaluation lead will need guidance and support from other agency and program experts in determining the focus and design of the evaluation, developing the evaluation plan, constructing data-collection instruments, collecting the evaluation data, analyzing and interpreting the data, and preparing evaluation reports. Possible options to lead your evaluation include the following:

  • An outside evaluator (who may be an individual, research institute, or consulting firm) who serves as the team leader and is supported by in-house staff
  • An in-house evaluator who serves as the team leader and is supported by program staff and possibly an outside consultant
  • An in-house evaluator who serves as the team leader and is supported by program staff only[7]
 

[7] FRIENDS National Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention. (n.d.). FRIENDS evaluation toolkit. Retrieved from http://friendsnrc.org/evaluation-toolkit.
Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2010). The program manager’s guide to evaluation (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: Author.