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Developing the Evaluation Design

The stakeholders are people or organizations with an investment in what will be learned from the evaluation and what will be done with the findings. Stakeholders should thoroughly understand the program’s logic model and how program success will be evaluated. Examples of stakeholders are those who set policy, those affected by the evaluation findings, such as staff and clients, funders, advocates, and representatives of other organizations with related goals. Building a constituency that will support a meaningful evaluation will also help to address and mitigate the constraints that plague public health program evaluation. These constraints are: 1) limited funds and emphasis on using available funds to provide direct services; 2) annual budget cycles and regular budget crises that make long-term or costly evaluation impractical; 3) the fast program start-up times that lead to an evaluation component being added on after the program has been designed and initiated; and 4) concerns about using experimental designs or the selective provision of services when the populations are poor or racial and ethnic minority populations. By integrating evaluation planning into program planning, stakeholders build interest, commitment, and trust in the evaluation process. They are more likely to value and commit resources to evaluation. This involvement increases the likelihood that evaluation findings will be used to improve programs. As mentioned previously, if the evaluation development has not been integrated into the planning process, you may find it helpful to have a small group of representative stakeholders as consultants to the evaluator.