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Evaluation Types

Several types of evaluations can be used to assess diabetes prevention/management programs. Each type of evaluation uses different approaches to assess a program's key activities, efficiencies, outcomes, and contextual variables. The types of evaluations include:

  • Formative evaluation: Formative evaluation assesses programmatic aspects in order to provide information about program implementation. Components of formative evaluation include, for example, measures of success relative to local knowledge, attitudes, behavioral motivations, and practices that influence program outcomes and effectiveness.
    For example: The number of participants at the end of the program check glucose levels daily
  • Process evaluation: A process evaluation can help identify strategies to improve the quality and delivery of a program. It can, in some cases, provide a context for identifying more immediate signs of program effectiveness. Process evaluation assesses the types, quantity, and quality of activities or services provided. Information can be collected with brief questionnaires or focus groups of program participants about the strengths, weaknesses, and critical nature of program components.
    For example: Identifying strengths and weaknesses within the referral process of the care coordination system.
  • Outcome evaluation: An outcome evaluation can focus on short- and long-term program objectives. Appropriate measures demonstrate changes in health conditions, quality of life, and behaviors.
    For example: The number of participants who demonstrate weight loss or reduction in A1C.
  • Impact evaluation: Impact evaluations measure the immediate and short-term changes made possible by program activities. This type of evaluation assesses the degree to which program objectives and goals were met. Appropriate measures for this type of evaluation include changes in awareness, knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and/or skills.
    For example: The number of participants who demonstrated improved self-management behaviors and skills.
  • Cost-benefit evaluation: A cost-benefit evaluation assesses the difference between the cost of running a program and the benefits it provides the target population. Information collected is used to justify or encourage decisions to invest in program development and operation, or to compare it with other projects or programs.
    For example: The amount of money saved by using community health workers or care managers in a physicians practice.

Resources to Learn More

Advancing the Science of Quality Improvement Research and Evaluation: Diabetes Initiative
This is an example of an evaluation of the Diabetes Initiative demonstrating how to design and conduct an evaluation specific to diabetes self-management programs.
Organization(s): Robert Wood Johnson Foundation