“Everyone needs help from everyone.”
- Bertolt Brecht

Gather the Necessary Resources

Conducting program evaluation is a team effort. And it’s important that all involved are committed and play roles that are best suited for them. The resources involved in most evaluations include:

  • Time
  • Cost
  • Evaluator
  • Staff
  • Supplies and Administration

This table offers a description of each of these resource areas and some important things you need to consider about each.

Resource Description
Time

Correctly done, evaluation is an ongoing process that begins as soon as the idea for a tobacco control program is conceived. It interweaves with program activities throughout the life of the program and ends after the program is finished.

Sometimes evaluation continues for years after the program ends to see if program effects are sustained over time. Some evaluations can be conducted in a relatively short period of time. For example, during an education program we may use a pretest-posttest design with a comparison group, and complete our data collection immediately after the posttest is completed at the end of the program.

In other circumstances, we may want to add a follow-up to see if the effects of the program last. The longer the span of the evaluation, the more it will cost. This is because we will have to find the people again and assess them again, both of which cost money.
 

Cost

While the cost of evaluation greatly varies, as a general rule, the more money you are willing to invest in an evaluation, the more useful the information that you will obtain about your program's effectiveness will be.1

Some of the factors that effect cost relate to who is actually conducting the evaluation, while others relate to the sheer logistics of collecting data and the type of analysis being conducted. The following elements will greatly impact the cost of your evaluation:

  • Consultant Experience and Education
  • Geographic location
  • Design Issues
     
Evaluator

For large, complex programs, it may be wise to hire professional evaluators to conduct the evaluation. For more about hiring outside consultants to conduct evaluations, see the next section, Decide Who Will Conduct the Evaluation.
 

Staff

Before getting started, ask yourself these questions to help you decide what kind of staff will be required for your evaluation.

  • What tasks are involved? (e.g., correspondence, recruiting participants, scheduling rooms, interviewing, keeping track of data and consent, data processing, etc.)
  • Who will oversee the effort?
  • What does the organizational chart look like?
  • Will you need to hire any outside vendors?
  • Who will select and manage the vendors?
  • Will the vendors be consultants or actually perform the tasks?

For more about how to hire an evaluator, see the next section, Decide Who Will Conduct the Evaluation.
 

Supplies and Administration

Here is a list of just a few of the supplies and administrative tasks you can expect to need, or be involved in, for your evaluation.

  • Recruitment materials
  • Meeting rooms
  • Data collection instrument development, duplication, and dissemination
  • Recording devices and tapes
  • Communications
  • Reports
  • Transportation
  • Incentives for participants
  • Follow-ups
     

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1. Source: Child Outcomes Research and Evaluation Team. (n.d.). What is program evaluation? In The program manager's guide to evaluation. Retrieved January 25, 2004 from the Administration for Children and Families web site.