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Evaluation Types

Several types of evaluation can be used to assess diabetes prevention and management programs. Each type of evaluation serves a different purpose, and the most appropriate type of evaluation depends on the stage of program implementation. For a detailed overview of different evaluation designs and frameworks, see Evaluation Design in the Rural Community Health Toolkit.

Common types of evaluations used to assess diabetes programs include:

  • Formative evaluation – Assesses the feasibility and appropriateness of the program, usually focusing on program materials and procedures. Formative evaluation provides information that can be used to improve the program, either before it is fully implemented or in early phases of implementation.
    Example: Barriers and facilitators to program effectiveness and adoption.
  • Process evaluation – Assesses the extent to which program activities have been implemented as planned. Process evaluation can be conducted periodically during program implementation and provides information on the types, quantity, and quality of activities or services provided.
    Example: Strengths and weaknesses with program recruitment or the referral process.
  • Outcome evaluation – Measures the program's effect on the target population. Outcome evaluation provides information on how well the program achieved its intended short- and long-term goals.
    Example: Reduction in weight or HbA1c among program participants.
  • Impact evaluation – Measures the long-term results of the program. Impact evaluation provides information on the broad impact of the program, including whether it achieved its intended results and assessing any unintended results.
    Example: Decrease in diabetes incidence in the population.
  • Economic (cost-benefit) evaluation – Compares the cost of a program to its benefits. Information collected is used to support continued program operations, or to compare it with other projects or programs.
    Example: Cost savings realized through use of community health workers or care managers.

Formative evaluation and process evaluation are conducted during program implementation, while outcome evaluation, impact evaluation, and economic evaluation are conducted after full implementation, once programs are established.

Resources to Learn More

Advancing the Science of Quality Improvement Research and Evaluation: Diabetes Initiative
Presents an example of an evaluation of the Diabetes Initiative, a 30-month, multi-site program to improve diabetes self-management, demonstrating how to design and conduct an evaluation specific to diabetes self-management programs.
Organization(s): Robert Wood Johnson Foundation