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Center for Opinion Research

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    • Patricia E. Harris Center for Business, Government & Public Policy

Program and Grant Evaluation

Survey research is a very useful tool for evaluating program performance. A good evaluation will help determine whether services are deployed well and are doing what they are intended to do, and whether there are any gaps in services. A data-driven program evaluation is particularly useful for informing grantors and funding agencies that their money is being well spent. Generally, there are three different kinds of program evaluations that we consider when developing an evaluation plan for your organization:

Needs Evaluations
Needs Evaluations are conducted prior to a program being funded or implemented, and identify and measure unmet needs within an organization or community. Results are typically included in a grant proposal to demonstrate need.

Process Evaluations
Process Evaluations document how a program has been delivered, who is being served, and whether a program is operating as expected. Usually, process evaluations try to answer questions about a program's efforts, operations, and services without making direct statements about program impacts. This information is often provided to grantors in a final report.

Impact Evaluations
Impact Evaluations determine the direct effects of a program on users. They determine whether a program has achieved its goals and produced desired changes. Results are included with reports to grantors or funding agencies, to demonstrate success; or, where results are not what were desired, the impact evaluation can help show why.

As with all our research, we work closely with you to develop an evaluation plan, beginning with assessing your program's goals and desired outcomes. We then determine appropriate evaluation questions and data sources. Often, we can use your existing data. If necessary, we will gather new data; many evaluations make use of both existing and new data.