Hello, I am Alexis V. Marbach, MPH. As the Empowerment Evaluator for the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, I support the evaluation activities of the Centers for Disease Control DELTA FOCUS (Domestic Violence Prevention Enhancements and Leadership Through Alliances, Focusing on Outcomes for Communities United with States) Grant. The DELTA FOCUS grant, awarded to 10 domestic violence coalitions throughout the country, challenges programs to evaluate their primary prevention programs in a rigorous and an intentional way. One step on the road to an evaluation plan is to conduct an evaluability assessment (EA). In Rhode Island we conducted an EA at the state level and for two local subgrantee sites. Here are some tips and tools that helped us along the way.
Template tip: While all EAs are unique in that they reflect the agency, community, and project values, there are core components that helped to guide our process. Those core concepts included:
1) What are the program or strategy goals (scope and purpose of the program)
2) How does the program intend to achieve program goals?
3) What resources are needed to implement the program?
Description of existing data collection methods and process
1) Describe the data collection methods instruments
2) Who is the intended audience of data collection instruments?
3) Who collects the data?
4) How often is the data collected?
Evaluation Plan Recommendation
1) How will this assessment inform the evaluation plan?
i. What can be evaluated?
ii. What evaluation questions can feasibly be answered?
Hot Tip: Timing tip: Remember that your EA is a step between creating an action plan (including a logic model) and your evaluation plan. When planning the timing of both, be sure to budget in enough time to meet with key stakeholders and constituents, conduct literature reviews, potentially conduct an internal assessment to determine capacity to conduct evaluation activities. We conducted EAs in a little more than a month, and this felt incredibly rushed even though we had full time staff working on the project.
Lesson learned: It’s okay to learn that your strategy is not ready to be evaluated. It’s fair to say that we put a great deal of pressure on ourselves to perfectly align our strategies with evaluation activities, even when it felt like cramming a square peg into a round hole. One of the great lessons of an EA is that you may have to go back to your initial plan and rethink your strategy.
Rad Resource: The National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence has compiled evaluation resources that are a blend of general tools and ones specific to violence against women strategies.
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