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Evaluation Basics. Anita Singh, PhD Family Programs Evaluation Branch Chief Office of Research and Analysis Food and Nutrition Service, USDA. Why Evaluate?. To obtain ongoing, systematic information about a project Project management (includes project refinement and planning)

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evaluation basics

Evaluation Basics

Anita Singh, PhD

Family Programs Evaluation Branch Chief

Office of Research and Analysis

Food and Nutrition Service, USDA

why evaluate
Why Evaluate?
  • To obtain ongoing, systematic information about a project
    • Project management (includes project refinement and planning)
    • Project efficiency
    • Project accountability
types of evaluation
Types of Evaluation
  • Formative
  • Process
  • Outcome
  • Impact
formative research
Formative Research
  • Typically occurs when an intervention is being developed.
  • Results used in designing intervention
  • Results are informative – not definitive
  • Examples – focus groups, literature review etc.
process evaluation
Process Evaluation
  • Tracking the actual implementation (e.g. delivery, resources)
  • Used to determine if intervention was delivered as designed
  • Helps identify barriers to implementation and strategies to overcome barriers
outcome evaluation
Outcome Evaluation
  • Addresses whether anticipated changes occurred in conjunction with the intervention
  • Example: Pre- Post intervention test of nutrition knowledge
  • Indicates the degree of change but it is not conclusive evidence
impact evaluation
Impact Evaluation
  • Allows one to conclude authoritatively that the observed outcomes are due to the intervention
  • Can draw cause and effect conclusions by isolating the intervention from other factors that might contribute to the outcome.
planning for an impact evaluation
Planning for an Impact Evaluation


  • What are the objectives?
  • What is the expected size of the impact?
  • Why, how and when is the intervention expected to achieve the objectives?
  • Will the intervention be implemented as intended?
planning for an impact evaluation9
Planning for an Impact Evaluation
  • Build on available research
  • Consider study design – use of “experimental design” versus “quasi-experimental design” – cost and resource considerations
design considerations
Design considerations
  • Experimental – Strongest type of design -- cause and effect, uses random assignment; cost considerations
  • Quasi-experimental designs – does not use random assignment; can have a control group – may include multiple groups and or/multiple waves of data collection


Program Evaluations – observational studies/ surveillance data

planning for an impact evaluation11
Planning for an Impact Evaluation
  • Use “SMART” objectives
  • Choose measures that fit the intervention
  • Protection of human subjects
as the intervention begins
As the Intervention Begins
  • Collect impact data at start-up before intervention has reached steady state; Follow-up (interest/resources)

After the intervention

Report the findings

Use the findings

what is social marketing
What is Social Marketing?

It is a:

  • Systematic and strategic planning process.
  • Social or behavior change strategy.
  • Total package of strategies carefully chosen based on characteristics of the target audience.
  • Uses strategies from commercial marketing.
social marketing is not
Social Marketing is Not:
  • Just advertising or communication
  • A media campaign
  • Reaching everyone
  • A fast process
  • A theory
basic principles of social marketing
Basic Principles of Social Marketing
  • Behavior change
  • Audience orientation
  • Audience segmentation
  • Exchange
  • Competition
  • Marketing mix (4 P’s)
why evaluate social marketing
Why Evaluate Social Marketing?
  • Support continuing improvement
  • Establish effect and inform program accountability
challenges for evaluation
Challenges for Evaluation
  • Assess extent of exposure
  • Measure intermediate outcomes
  • Less intense – design and measurement tools need to be sensitive to small changes in behavior
  • Timely feedback to inform continual improvements

Source: Hersey et al, 1999

steps for program evaluation
Steps for Program Evaluation
  • Engage stakeholders
  • Describe the Program (e.g. develop a Logic Model; develop a conceptual framework)
  • The next 2 slides present an example of developing a logic model

(Source: UW Extension)


Simplest form of logic model




Source: University of Wisconsin-Extension, Program Development and Evaluation


A bit more detail









Program investments

What we invest

What we do

Who we reach

What results


What is the VALUE?

Source: University of Wisconsin-Extension, Program Development and Evaluation

steps for program evaluation21
Steps for Program Evaluation
  • Identify evaluation questions
  • Formative testing
  • Develop data collection and analysis plan – select appropriate measures
  • Analyze and interpret the data
  • Use and disseminate the findings
social marketing planning process
Social Marketing Planning Process
  • A structured approach to developing and implementing a program or intervention for voluntary behavior change.
  • Six Phases

1. Problem description.2. Formative research.3. Strategy development.4. Intervention design. 5. Evaluation.6. Implementation.

(Source: CDC’s Social Marketing for Nutrition and Physical Activity Online Course)

evaluating the impact of social marketing
Evaluating the Impact of Social Marketing
  • Challenges in evaluating behavioral impact
    • Incorrectly ascribing impact – contamination issues
    • Use of inappropriate measures of change e.g. focusing on general long-term changes versus intermediate changes and specific behaviors
measurement selection includes
Measurement Selection Includes
  • Knowing the information needs
  • Understanding Campaign rationale
  • Basing on Theoretical model for behavior change
  • Selecting approach e.g. mail survey, phone, in-person interview, records – reliability, response rate, cost
  • Selecting Measurement tools – validity and reliability of instruments
study design
Study Design
  • Use of Comparison sites
    • Eliminates alternative explanations that could otherwise account for observed results
    • Internal validity
study design26
Study Design
  • Timing of data collection
    • Pre or baseline
    • After implementation
    • Post Campaign
study design sample size
Study Design – sample size
  • Statistical Power –based on amount of change that could be expected
  • Once desired magnitude of change has been established, then select/calculate sample size with statistical power to determine if the change is due to the intervention and not random chance (see Hersey et. al.)
sample size depends on
Sample Size depends on:
  • Difference that is expected to be detected
    • Measurement tool
  • Study design – cross-sectional versus longitudinal study
other considerations
Other Considerations
  • Response rate – higher the response rate, the greater the likelihood that the sample is representative of the study population.
    • Example survey – 30 percent completed versus 80 percent completed.
other considerations31
Other Considerations
  • Low response rate – deal with issues such as “intention to treat.”
  • Intention to treat analyses are done to avoid the effects of crossover and drop-out, which may break the randomization to the treatment groups in a study.
  • Intention to treat analysis provides information about the potential effects of treatment policy rather than on the potential effects of specific treatment.
other considerations32
Other considerations
  • Selection bias: the sample is not truly representative of the study population
  • Repeated interviews
  • Sample attrition
    • If high attrition rate - comparing pre/baseline scores of non-dropout with dropouts.
    • May need to adjust for difference
other considerations33
Other Considerations
  • Seasonal effects – Fresh fruits and vegetable consumption
  • Evaluation can provide valuable, ongoing systematic information about a project
  • Common evaluation features across delivery types
  • Choice of features and evaluation type(s) will be driven by your information needs
social marketing resources
Social Marketing Resources

CDC on line course

  • http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/socialmarketing/training/basics/index.htm (basics)
  • http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/socialmarketing/training/phase5/index.htm (evaluation)

Evaluating Social Marketing in Nutrition: A Resource Manual by Hersey et. al.


evaluation online resources
Evaluation Online Resources
  • Nutrition Education: Principles of Sound Impact Evaluation, FNS, Sept. 05 http://www.fns.usda.gov/oane/menu/Published/NutritionEducation/Files/EvaluationPrinciples.pdf
  • Building capacity in Evaluating Outcomes –UW Extension, Oct 08 http://www.uwex.edu/ces/pdande/evaluation/bceo/index.html
resources continued
Resources continued
  • WK Kellogg Foundation Evaluation Handbook, Jan 98 http://www.wkkf.org/default.aspx?tabid=75&CID=281&NID=61&LanguageID=0
  • Developing a logic model: Teaching and training guide: E. Taylor-Powell and E. Henert; UW Extension Feb 08 http://www.uwex.edu/ces/pdande/evaluation/evallogicmodel.html