Evaluation has grown rapidly over recent years because it provides evidence for success and identifies areas of improvement. By providing data-centric information, evaluation helps organizations (or program planners) maximize their impact.
- Evaluation has grown rapidly over recent years, because it provides evidence for success and identifies areas of improvement. By providing data-centric information, evaluation , helps
organizations (or program planners) maximize their impact.
Although organizational or program goals differ in the services offered, the needs of program participants, and even the evaluation requirements needed to secure continued funding, all commonly share a desire to have a positive impact on society. Evaluation can determine the degree to which an organization or program is helping its target audience and how the program can improve.
- Overall, evaluation can help assess a program’s merit or worth in many different ways:
- Verify that resources are devoted to meeting unmet needs
- Verify that implemented programs are providing services
- Examine the outcomes of programs
- Determine which programs produce the most favorable outcomes
- Determine which programs offer the most needed services
- Provide information to maintain and improve quality
- Examine and watch for any unplanned side effects
There are many types of evaluations that can be conducted at different times during a project; however, our team recognizes believes that integration of evaluation throughout the duration of the program increases the impact factor and creates better sustainability. Without measuring need, planning cannot be rational; without effective implementation, good outcomes cannot be expected; and without achieving good outcomes, there is no reason to worry about efficiency. As such, our services can help your organization (or program) build the capacity needed to make evaluation integral to the lifecycles of your programs.
External evaluators offer several benefits. External evaluators have access to and can draw upon more people, whom are very skilled in sampling, qualitative analysis, and statistics. Because ERG is housed within the Social Science Research Center (SSRC) at Mississippi State University, we work with accomplished scholars and have access to state-of-the-art facilities. In addition, external evaluators are less likely to experience conflicting pressures when an evaluation reveals problems in a program.
It is important to realize that external evaluation plays a role in every stage. When designing a new program or writing a grant proposal, evaluators can conduct needs assessments; create logic models; and clearly identify goals, activities, and expected outcomes. While a program is being implemented, evaluators monitor the program’s progress towards meeting its goals. Finally, when seeking continued funding or reporting the outcomes of your program to its stakeholders, evaluation can help answers questions on the program’s implementation, effectiveness, and future directions.