Tools & Methods of Program Evaluation
Methods include the collection of qualitative data (such as interviews and narrative stories) or quantitative data such as numeric survey ratings. Sometimes program evaluations will include both types of data collection. A common evaluation design for Extension programs involves the collection of pre- and post-data that can document level of change in knowledge, attitudes, skills, motivations, and behaviors. Another common technique includes collecting survey or narrative information (“success stories”) as a part of program follow-up, to find out if longer-term outcomes like behavior change were realized among participants. Survey tool construction or survey item adaptation from existing sources is often completed during the planning phase of program evaluation. A challenge in selecting tools and methods for program evaluation are various tradeoffs in decisions related to using pre-existing measurement tools or creating ones unique to a specific program. Other decisions about tools for program evaluation efforts include what types of software to use for data analysis and considering the use of online data collectors and mobile device survey designs.