My name is Julianne Manchester, Co-Program Chair for the Community Psychology TIG and the PI at Case Western Reserve University- School of Medicine for an evaluation capacity building initiative with health professionals planning educational programs. I am pleased to be discussing Evaluability Assessment in this kick-off blog post for AEA365.
What is Evaluability Assessment (EA)? According to the oft-cited founder of EA, Joseph Wholey, it is (in a nutshell) a series of steps with stakeholders to assess the probability that programs will achieve measurable objectives. In this role, I’ve had the (I think valuable) experience of seeing programs not conducting an EA become stuck as stakeholders (in this case, from clinical settings) experience shifts in organizational priorities toward continuing education of staff.
These have included unanticipated changes to data collection access with electronic medical records or senior hospital leadership priorities. Perhaps advanced work with these stakeholders through an EA process could have prevented the educational programmers from scrambling to find new sites mid-stream. But, this was necessary in order to train nurses and measure the provider changes with patients by the federal reporting deadlines.
My challenge is to disseminate an EA framework within the health professions community, particularly those implementing continuing education programs with multiple disciplines (nursing, social work, pharmacy). I hope to develop a model I can put forth within this context.
Lesson Learned: Different fields have different names for what is essentially an evaluability assessment. In healthcare-oriented research, I couldn’t even find the term until I started looking under implementation research (driven by implementation theory). This seems to be the appropriate umbrella for these and other planning evaluation activities (developing logic models, so forth) when translating evidence-based programs into practice.
Rad Resource: I found a wonderful guide to EA related to public health (and other areas) in 2010’s Evaluability Assessment to Improve Public Health Programs, and Practices available open-access through this website: http://www.annualreviews.org/journal/publhealth
The American Evaluation Association is celebrating CP TIG Week with our colleagues in the Community Psychology Topical Interest Group. The contributions all week come from CP TIG members. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.