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Like any large-scale project, a successful evaluation begins with a thoughtful planning process. Preferably, this process includes the development of a written plan to document your approach and the decisions made during planning. An evaluation plan specifies what you will evaluate and how. Some funders may require you to submit an evaluation plan, but it is a good exercise to draft one even if it is not required.
The evaluation planning process usually involves determining:
- What questions the evaluation will attempt to answer,
- Who will serve as your study sample (intervention group and control group, if applicable),
- What outcomes, outcome measures, and data sources will be used, and
- The statistical power needed for your study.
The planning process also might include other preliminary work such as obtaining institutional review board approval. Each of these topics is explored in detail next.
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