It’s important to measure objectives, strategies and actions so that there is reliable information about what has been achieved and so there can be informed decisions about it. With evaluation in place, data can be collected on what’s working well or less well; whether there are unintended consequences; which aspects of implementation need to change; and what to do for the next iteration of the action plan. Here are some things to consider when planning for evaluation.
- It’s critical to have stakeholder buy-in to an evaluation culture that values learning and improvement. Evaluation isn’t only about accountability: it’s a friend to implementation.
- There are different types of evaluation that can be applied at different times during implementation of your action plan.
– Process evaluation should be done throughout implementation
– Impact evaluation measures the immediate to medium-term changes resulting from your strategies and relates to whether or not objectives have been met
– Outcome evaluation is for measuring change over a much longer period of time and relates to whether or not goals have been achieved.
- Given the long-term nature of much primary prevention, evaluating outcomes over the first few years of a regional action plan may not result in measurable changes – it is more useful to focus on impact evaluation.
- Evaluation supports accountability at two levels – by reporting the progress of implementation, and understanding the achievement of objectives.
- A mix of qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection will yield a rich source of information for decision-making.