What is Evaluation Research?
An evaluation is a systematic process that produces a trustworthy account of what was attempted and why; through the examination of results—the outcomes of intervention programs—it answers the questions, "What was done?" "To whom, and how?" and "What outcomes were observed?''.
Well-designed evaluation permits us to draw inferences from the data and addresses the difficult question: ''What do the outcomes mean?"
These questions differ in the degree of difficulty of answering them.
An evaluation that tries to determine the outcomes of an intervention and what those outcomes mean is a more complicated endeavour than an evaluation that assesses the process by which the intervention was delivered.
Both kinds of evaluation are necessary because they are intimately connected: to establish a project's success, an evaluator must first ask whether the project was implemented as planned and then whether its objective was achieved.
How Can We Help?
At CERFODES, we have the technical, managerial and logistical capabilities of conducting the following types of evaluations and research:
i. Process Evaluation
A process evaluation addresses two broad questions: "What was done?" and "To whom, and how?" Ordinarily, process evaluation is carried out at some point in the life of a project to determine how and how well the delivery goals of the program are being met. When intervention programs continue over a long period of time (as is the case for some of the major AIDS prevention programs), measurements at several times are warranted to ensure that the components of the intervention continue to be delivered by the right people, to the right people, in the right manner, and at the right time. Process evaluation can also play a role in improving interventions by providing the information necessary to change delivery strategies or program objectives in a changing epidemic.
Research designs for process evaluation include direct observation of projects, surveys of service providers and clients, and the monitoring of administrative records.
ii. Formative Evaluation
Formative evaluation is a special type of early evaluation that occurs during and after a program has been designed but before it is broadly implemented. Formative evaluation is used to understand the need for the intervention and to make tentative decisions about how to implement or improve it. During formative evaluation, information is collected and then fed back to program designers and administrators to enhance program development and maximize the success of the intervention. For example, formative evaluation may be carried out through a pilot project before a program is implemented at several sites.
A pilot study of a community-based organization (CBO), for example, might be used to gather data on problems involving access to and recruitment of targeted populations and the utilization and implementation of services; the findings of such a study would then be used to modify (if needed) the planned program.
iii. Outcome Evaluation
The purpose of outcome evaluation is to identify consequences and to establish that consequences are, indeed, attributable to a project. This type of evaluation answers the questions, "What outcomes were observed?" and, perhaps more importantly, "What do the outcomes mean?". Like process evaluation, outcome evaluation can also be conducted at intervals during an ongoing program, and the panel believes that such periodic evaluation should be done to monitor goal achievement.
CERFODES technical teams use three general approaches to construct proxies for use in the comparisons required to evaluate the effects of interventions: (1) nonexperimental methods, (2) quasi-experiments, and (3) randomized experiments.
iv. Cost-effectiveness Analysis
Like outcome evaluation, cost-effectiveness analysis also measures program effectiveness, but it extends the analysis by adding a measure of program cost.
v. Policy Research
CERFODES has conducted numerous multidisciplinary and evidence-based policy research. Our research addresses important issues and challenges facing Africa in areas such as education, health, population, aging, urbanization, and well-being.
We engage with policymakers in the region to disseminate our research findings to influence policy decisions and improve the quality of life in Africa.
Need Evaluation Research services?
We can help, get in touch with our team of experts today.