week 1 notes.docx - Learning Objectives Program eval is...

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Learning Objectives Program eval is systematic assessment of programs designed to improve social conditions and our individual and collective well-being Evaluators apply social science research methods to provide answers to stakeholders Introduce five foundational concepts in program evaluation Define the purpose of the evaluation – with clear objectives and evaluations questions Descrrive explicitly how the program is expected to work – with program theory Understand whether a program is functioining as planned 0 with process monitoring and evaluation Determine how to assess whether the program is contributing to expected outcomes Identify the best data collection methods that fit with the evalution questions and study design So welcome to Program Evaluation. For this first week, I'd like to start by talking about five fundamen tal concepts in program evaluation to get us started thinking about, what is it that we mean by doing program evaluation or evaluating a program? So an essential question is really, what is program evaluation? We define it in this course as appl ying social research methods to systematically investigate the effectiveness of social intervention programs. Now, of course, this is a broad definition for any kind of social intervention. In our cour se, we're focusing on public health interventions as a subset of social interventions. But the appr oach and the methods are the same no matter what kind of social intervention program you migh t be doing. I'd like for you to take note that we specify systematic. So this is not an ad hoc series of trying to assess what's working or not working. What you need is a clear evaluation methodology that's ar ticulated and transparent to the people consuming the results of your evaluation. And that metho dology needs to be based on proven social science methods-- not necessarily just trial or what y ou think might be good, but on methods that have been used and proven. And all of this evaluati ve work needs to be rooted in the broader tradition of scientific study. So we are actually doing research here. We are trying to investigate whether a public health inter vention is actually working or not and why it might be working or why it may not be working.

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