Program evaluations are completed for many different reasons—to demonstrate effectiveness for funding, to evaluate strengths and weaknesses for improvement, to determine allocation of limited resources, or simply to document program accomplishments or activities. The first step in program evaluation is to identify the purpose for the evaluation, followed closely by identification of stakeholders that will be affected by it. Stakeholders include everyone who is affected by and/or will be consumers of the evaluation results.
Engaging stakeholders in an evaluation process requires the design and implementation of communication and research strategies that are tailored to the needs of each group. The purpose of your communication with each may be to attract or sustain funding, or to inform, coordinate, or gather data. Strategies to meet these communication goals may include any method from staff meetings to community fairs to complex survey research efforts.
The New Harbor Interactive Learning Community, located in this week’s Learning Resources, presents a number of community institutions that are well suited to evaluation projects. For this Assignment, you complete the foundational steps of program evaluation—defining the purpose of an evaluation and identifying the stakeholders in the evaluation. For these stakeholders, you will identify optimal communication strategies and examine the methodological, diversity, and ethical issues present.
Tour the Interactive Community by clicking on the buildings for each organization.
Select one institution to focus on and consider the evaluation needs for the institution. You can base your evaluation proposal on a description of a program or initiative that already exists in that institution, or you can propose a different one that you are confident would be pertinent for it. Explore the “case examples” on pages 8–9 of Shakman and Rodriguez (2015) for examples that you can use as a model for your own. You may also wish to utilize the worksheets in the CDC (2011) resource to develop an evaluation focus.
Review the Bryson (2004) article in this week’s Learning Resources and consider the stakeholders that would be involved in or affected by an evaluation at your selected institution. You may wish to begin by making a list of as many stakeholders as you can think of, and then narrow your list to four stakeholders that you will focus on for this Assignment. Planning for significant involvement from your selected key stakeholders will be more meaningful than unfocused involvement by all stakeholders.
Think about what information you might need to communicate to each of the four stakeholders and the best methods to accomplish this.
Consider any ethical considerations that might apply to communication with stakeholders.
Submit a 3- to 4-page paper that addresses the following:
Identify the institution you selected from the Interactive Community and write a brief (approximately 100 words) evaluation proposal for a need it may have. The goal is to be concise and yet specific.
Create profiles of four stakeholders that would be involved in or affected by an evaluation at this organization. Explain the level of contact or information that each stakeholder would need before, during, and after an evaluation project as well as each stakeholder’s familiarity with evaluation and its vocabulary.
Explain the optimal communication for each stakeholder (e.g., oral, written, face-to-face) and the considerations that would be best practices in any plan (e.g., reading level, linguistic diversity, physical impairments to communication).
Explain any methodology issues that would be pertinent to stakeholder communication in this setting. For example, if you profile stakeholders who are clients at a hospital clinic, you might identify data collection through anonymous questionnaires rather than a Delphi technique that requires repeated contact.
Finally, explain and address any ethical considerations for your communication plan with stakeholders.