Evaluating Projects of a NORC Program
Guiding Principle # 1
A NORC program incorporates a well-planned evaluation into projects as early as possible in their development.
Actions and Considerations
Get everyone on board about the importance of evaluation. Before designing an evaluation strategy, the NORC program partners need to understand why it is in their self-interest to do so. Some partners may have to be sold on the idea that evaluation is an activity worthy of resources. Until everyone agrees on that, evaluations are likely to be of limited use.
Take a look at similar evaluations. Look for your own previous studies or evaluations conducted in similar environments that may be useful as tools of comparison.
Review your work plan. The work plan you created for each project is a useful guide to what you will be evaluating (see Designing and Implementing a NORC Program, Guiding Principle #5). A work plan spells out your:
- Problem statement.
- Goals of the project.
- Objectives of the project.
- Specific activities.
- Available resources (staff, timing).
Use the logic model to design your evaluation. The logic model helps you to create a picture of how the many elements of any project—including planned activities, resources, and expected outcomes—are supposed to work together.
The first five steps of your logic model—developing your problem statement, goals, objectives, resources, and activities—are generally contained in the work plan.
Keep in Mind
The data that you collect and analyze for an evaluation can also be used to refine your projects. Check in along the way—by keeping an eye on your findings as you collect them, you may be able to make mid-course corrections, when needed.
All NORC program partners, including the senior residents, have roles to play in designing an evaluation strategy, collecting data, analyzing the findings, and applying them to decision making. They may also participate in surveys, questionnaires, interviews, and focus groups.