AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

May/11

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Alberta Mirambeau on Program Stakeholders and Evaluation Stakeholders

My name is Alberta Mirambeau and I am an ORISE fellow on the Evaluation and Program Effectiveness Team in the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I provide evaluation technical assistance to state-funded programs that implement heart disease and stroke prevention activities.

Our team uses the CDC Framework for Program Evaluation as our primary approach to evaluation. The Framework is organized into six steps, in which the first step is to “Engage Stakeholders.” During this step, typical questions asked are: How do you decide what stakeholders to include in an evaluation and to what extent do you involve them? For many programs, the list of program stakeholders — people or organizations that have an interest in a program — may be quite long. For example, in a service-delivery program, its funders, administrators, implementers, and participants may all have a perspective to add to the design and delivery of the program. The many viewpoints may lead to differences or conflict about what an evaluation should accomplish and how it should be conducted.

As an evaluator, I find a helpful way to address the issue of a large set of diverse program stakeholders is to make a distinction between program stakeholders and evaluation stakeholders. Stakeholders for an evaluation typically emerge as a core group from the program stakeholders. Evaluation stakeholders are the primary users of the evaluation results as well as those who will be involved in designing or implementing the evaluation. Evaluation stakeholders are called on to advise about program processes, the evaluation design, and the implementation of the evaluation. Although you may keep program stakeholders informed about the evaluation process and its progress, the evaluation stakeholders serve as key advisors. By identifying key advisors to guide the evaluation process, you’re building support for the evaluation and helping to ensure the utility of the evaluation.

Hot Tip: Before engaging any stakeholders in an evaluation, identify the purpose of the evaluation as well as the intended use and users of evaluation results. Allow the answers to these to guide your selection of evaluation stakeholders for a particular evaluation.

Hot Tip: Evaluation stakeholders may be different for each evaluation conducted. For example, an evaluation that focuses on program improvement may include program participants who may not need to be included in an evaluation that focuses on program administrative processes.

Rad Resource: The CDC Framework for Program Evaluation is available at http://www.cdc.gov/eval/ framework.htm.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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1 comment

  • scott bayley · May 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Aside from the primary users of the evaluation results as well as those who will be involved in designing or implementing the evaluation evaluation, stakeholders aslo include those who will be affected by the evaluation e.g. program users, program staff.

    Evaluators are also stakeholders in the evaluation but not in the program itself.

    It is better to distinguish program stakeholders from evaluation stakeholders, and primary vs secondary users of the evaluation’s findings.

    Reply

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