Community Empowerment Research

We help churches, schools, and community organizations
measure needs of the people they serve,
set strategies to meet those needs, and
assess the impact of their work in service, training, evangelism, and outreach.

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Choosing and Working with an Evaluator:
  Resources for Social Service Professionals and Others

University of Kansas Community Tool Box

The Work Group for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas has built an extensive guide to identifying community needs, finding solutions to community problems, building programs to meet those needs, and evaluating and improving the program.  Everything you need to know about the steps of the entire process is in this toolbox.  Be ready for a long read!  There are 46 chapters each with up to a dozen or so sections.  Each section fills several computer screens and includes dozens of links to other resources.  And if you want to go deeper, there are extensive reference lists to academic articles and books.  Work your way through all of this and you will know everything we at Community Empowerment Research knows, except for the nuances of research design or the details of statistical analysis.
Here is an excellent PowerPoint from KU on what Community Change means and the basic definitions of terms.  (Clicking the link will download the powerpoint.  Click on the download to view the presentation.)
Directly related to the point of this page on choosing evaluators is their discussion of "Choosing Evaluators".     Read More

Basic Guide to Program Evaluation

Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD.
This document provides guidance toward planning and implementing an evaluation process for for-profit or nonprofit programs – there are many kinds of evaluations that can be applied to programs, for example, goals-based, process-based and outcomes-based. Nonprofit organizations are increasingly interested in outcomes-based evaluation.    Read More

Demonstrating Your Program's Worth: A Primer on Evaluation

From the Centers for Disease Control, this book shows program managers how to demonstrate the value of their work to the public, to their peers, to funding agencies, and to the people they serve.  The purpose is to show that managers and staff need not be apprehensive about what evaluation will cost or what it will show.  In this book, they show why evaluation is worth the resources and effort involved.  They also show how to conduct a simple evaluation, how to hire and supervise consultants for a complex evaluation, and how to incorporate evaluation activities into the activities of the program itself.  By learning to merge evaluation and program activities, managers will find that evaluation does not take as much time, effort, or money as they expected.    Read More

How to Select a Program Evaluator

Linda Langford, Sc.D., and William DeJong, Ph.D., April 2001.
Prevention coordinators are under increasing pressure to evaluate programs.  The reason boils down to a single word: accountability.  This 3-page flyer describes the role of evaluation in program planning and implementation; skills, expertise, qualifications, and experience to look for when seeking an evaluator; incentives for the evaluator; questions to ask when considering an evaluator; and how to network to find the right evaluator.  The flyer also describes five publications available through the Higher Education Center that can provide an introduction to evaluation basics.  While the information in this flyer describes how to select an evaluator for AOD prevention set in a higher education context, most of the information is applicable to all settings.    Read More

Selecting and Working with an External Evaluator

The Healthcare Georgia Foundation
Seven guidelines are provided for selecting and working with an external evaluator in conducting an evaluation of health education programs.  The Appendix is a list of questions to ask any prospective evaluator.  Although this guide describes evaluating healthcare programs specifically, most of the information applies to other programs as well.    Read More

Community How-To Guide on Evaluation

This guide, created by the U.S.  Department of Transportation, includes information on different types of evaluation, methods, planning an evaluation and hiring an evaluator.  It describes how organizations and coalitions can develop and utilize an evaluation strategy to make their programs successful and effective.  This booklet first describes the purpose of evaluation as well as the myths and facts about the evaluation process.  For instance, contrary to popular opinion, evaluations do not have to be time consuming and expensive to be useful.  The booklet describes in detail four stages or types of evaluation (formative, process, outcome, and impact) and the two methods that can be used quantitative and qualitative.  The booklet describes the process to be used for planning an evaluation, as well as what to look for if hiring an evaluator.  Organizations can use this to learn how to integrate an evaluation into their overall plan, thereby making their efforts more targeted and effective.    Read More

Program Review Office Guide

Prepared by The Program Review Office of the Government of the Northwest Territories, Canada, 2014. 
This guide is designed to help those who are planning to work with a consultant to conduct an evaluation.  It outlines steps to take to ensure an effective partnership and a useful, credible product.  This guide is broken down into three sections: planning your project, processes for finding and choosing an evaluation consultant, and working with the consultant effectively.    Read More

The Evaluation Center Checklists

Checklists are useful tools for evaluators because they are versatile, mnemonic, reduce the chances of overlooking important factors, reduce biases such as halo effect, and increase the defensibility of evaluation findings.  This site includes an array of evaluation checklists that may be useful for social service professionals, such as Key Evaluation Checklist, and Evaluation Contracts Checklist.  The Key Evaluation Checklist describes in detail all the items a thorough, final evaluation report should contain.  The Evaluation Contracts Checklist was designed to help evaluators and clients identify key contractual issues and record agreements for conducting an evaluation in advance.  Also included on this website are guidelines for checklist development, and an in-depth examination of the checklist approach to evaluation for those interested in the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of checklists.    Read More

University of Massachusetts at Lowell Program Evaluation Tip Sheet

This website has a series of tip sheets concerning evaluation.  These tips have been designed to be especially useful to coalitions that work with youth and youth prevention programs.  The program evaluation section has tip sheets titled "How to Focus an Evaluation", "Choosing an Evaluator and Developing a Scope of Services", "Internal vs.  External Evaluations", and "Designing an Evaluation".    Read More