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Determining Your Focus
A road splitting into three paths.

We just reviewed the many possible motivations for evaluation and the specific goals it can achieve. Some or all of these factors might influence you to make the decision to evaluate. Once you commit to conducting an evaluation, however, you must decide precisely what questions you would like answered and what you want to measure. Keep in mind that a study should be clearly focused, and you may need to undertake more studies over time to get the whole picture about your program.

What information is most important to you? For example, do you want to know:

  • Is my program being implemented as intended?
  • Are program participants achieving desired outcomes?
  • Are our efforts effecting change in the population in which the problem was initially documented?

This section explains the three types of evaluation that are most appropriate to answer these kinds of questions, respectively: process evaluation, outcome evaluation, and impact evaluation.

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