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A process evaluation describes how your program is being implemented. This type of evaluation is important for several reasons. First, it can be used to determine the extent to which a program is implemented as intended—a concept known as intervention fidelity, which is among the six research quality criteria we introduce later in this course. Second, a process evaluation can provide a program developer with information on the implementation process. This information can in turn be used to refine the delivery of a program and improve its quality.

Process evaluation data also may be important in the interpretation of outcome data. If your program is not achieving expected outcomes, it may be because there are problems with intervention fidelity, meaning the program is not being delivered as intended. A process evaluation can help identify discrepancies between program design and delivery and ultimately enable you to measure outcomes that more accurately reflect the program as designed.

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