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Evaluation Considerations

Evaluations can be conducted of individual-level food access programs, as well as of initiatives targeting policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) change, and both are equally important.

There is not a standard evaluation plan that is relevant to every PSE food access initiative. Unique targeted audiences (for example, community members at large versus food systems) and goals (for example, physical access to healthy food options versus changing land use codes) require that researchers adopt appropriate evaluation methods.

Consult existing resources to determine which method best suits your needs. For example, see Decide Which Evaluation Method to Use from BetterEvaluation and Selecting Evaluation Methods from Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. Keep in mind that many methods can be adapted and applied to a variety of audiences and goals.

School- and retail-based programs are often individual-focused, and there are a large number of existing evaluation instruments for this type of initiative. There are available sets of evaluation materials that specifically address food access initiatives. Some of these include: