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Outcomes say in concrete terms what you will measure to answer the evaluation questions you have posed. Most studies look at multiple outcomes. Some examples of outcomes are "30-day substance use" or "family functioning." Outcomes can be short term, intermediate, or long term. Short-term outcomes might be assessed immediately following program completion, while intermediate and long-term outcomes might be measured six and 12 months following program completion, respectively. In some cases, short-term outcomes may help predict intermediate and long-term outcomes, becoming mediating variables in explaining how your intervention works to achieve its ultimate goals.
For example, your study may hypothesize that short-term changes in knowledge and skills will eventually result in changed behavior.
Outcomes should be:
- Relevant to your program's goal and objectives,
- Important to achieve if your program is to attain its objectives, and
- Indicative of meaningful changes.
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