My name is Judy Woods and I am a Doctoral student at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. As a member of the graduate Assessment and Evaluation group, my first project as a novice evaluator involved the evaluation of an innovative medical education program. Being a Registered Nurse with extensive clinical experience in a university affiliated teaching hospital, and mentored by my supervisor as the Evaluation Consultant, this developmental evaluation in health care was an ideal orientation to the role of Principal Evaluator.
In this evaluation of a new educational program, stakeholders responded to questions asked in semistructured interviews. Content analysis of their collective responses were organized thematically and reported to program developers and implementers in the form of statement questions. Transforming findings statements into questions and then supporting these with program stakeholder interview responses will promote new discussion among program developers, administrators and implementers and contribute to further program decision-making. Presenting evaluation findings in this format, as developmental questions oriented towards program improvement, is a strategy with real potential for increasing evaluation product utilization.
Step 1. Create the findings statement.
Step 2. Transform the statement into a question.
Step 3. Use stakeholder responses to describe, to extend understanding, or to make connections.
Formulating evaluation findings as developmental questions is a reporting strategy that aligns with program evaluation utility standards, in particular U5 Relevant Information and U6 Meaningful Processes and Products (Yarbrough, Shulha, Hopson, & Caruthers, 2011). Presenting findings as questions is a utilization-focused approach (Patton, 2011) intended to inform and encourage improvement-oriented discussion among program decision-makers. This reporting strategy is valuable in a developmental evaluation. Decision-maker responses to the questions then determine next steps in the program’s development.
Yarbrough, D. B., Shulha, L. M., Hopson, R. K., & Caruthers, F. A. (2010). The Program Evaluation Standards: A guide for evaluators and evaluation users (3rd ed). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.
Patton, M. (2010). Developmental Evaluation: Applying complexity concepts to enhance innovation and use. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
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