The evaluation step of SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) quantifies the challenges and successes of implementing a prevention program.
Evaluation is the systematic collection and analysis of information about program activities, characteristics, and outcomes. The evaluation step of the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) is not just about collecting information, but using that information to improve the effectiveness of a prevention program. After evaluation, planners may decide whether or not to continue the program.
Prevention practitioners need to evaluate how well the program was delivered and how successful it was in achieving the expected outcomes. Once the program has been evaluated, prevention planners typically report evaluation results to stakeholders, which can include community members and lawmakers. Stakeholders can promote your program, increase public interest, and possibly help to secure additional funding.
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Evaluation and the SPF
Prevention practitioners engage in a variety of evaluation-related activities, including identifying evaluation expertise, designing evaluation plans, finding epidemiological data, and analyzing epidemiological data. Evaluation is more than a final step. It should be a part of every aspect of the SPF, from assessing needs to communicating results.
During an evaluation, prevention practitioners ask the following questions:
- How successful was the community in selecting and implementing appropriate strategies?
- Were these the “right” strategies, given the risk and protective factors the community identified?
- Were representatives from across the community involved in program planning, selection, and implementation? In what ways were they involved?
- Was the planning group able to identify potential new partners with which to collaborate?
- What was the quality of the data used in decision making?
Engaging stakeholders who represent the populations you hope to reach greatly increases the chance that your evaluation efforts will be successful. Stakeholders can dictate how (or even whether) evaluation results are shared. Stakeholder involvement also helps to ensure that the evaluation design, including methods and the instruments used, is consistent with the cultural norms of the people you serve. Learn more about cultural competence in prevention practice.
Publications and Resources
- Evaluation Tools and Resources
- Minimizing Evaluation Costs
- Building the Evaluation Capacity of Local Programs Serving American Indian/Alaska Native Populations: Lessons Learned
- Strategies for Conducting Effective Focus Groups
- Tips for Conducting Key Informant Interviews