Engaging Partners to Initiate Evaluation Efforts: Tactics Used and Lessons Learned From the Prevention Research Centers Program
Published Date:Dec 15 2007
Source:Prev Chronic Dis. 2008; 5(1).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) Prevention Research Centers (PRC) Program underwent a 2-year evaluation planning project using a participatory process that allowed perspectives from the national community of PRC partners to be expressed and reflected in a national logic model.
The PRC Program recognized the challenge in developing a feasible, useable, and relevant evaluation process for a large, diverse program. To address the challenge, participatory and utilization-focused evaluation models were used.
Four tactics guided the evaluation planning process: 1) assessing stakeholders' communication needs and existing communication mechanisms and infrastructure; 2) using existing mechanisms and establishing others as needed to inform, educate, and request feedback; 3) listening to and using feedback received; and 4) obtaining adequate resources and building flexibility into the project plan to support multifaceted mechanisms for data collection.
Participatory methods resulted in buy-in from stakeholders and the development of a national logic model. Benefits included CDC's use of the logic model for program planning and development of a national evaluation protocol and increased expectations among PRC partners for involvement. Challenges included the time, effort, and investment of program resources required for the participatory approach and the identification of whom to engage and when to engage them for feedback on project decisions.
By using a participatory and utilization-focused model, program partners positively influenced how CDC developed an evaluation plan. The tactics we used can guide the involvement of program stakeholders and help with decisions on appropriate methods and approaches for engaging partners.
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