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Evaluation Questions for Health Literacy Programs

Evaluation questions are used to focus the evaluation plan and clarify what program aspects will be addressed in the evaluation. For example, evaluation questions can address the impact of the rural health literacy program, different components or subprocesses of the program, and the effectiveness of the program in improving personal and organizational health literacy. Examples of process and outcome evaluation questions are provided below.

To develop evaluation questions, consider the following:

  • What is the population of interest?
  • What types of health literacy skills need to be measured?
  • What are the health literacy outcomes or other health outcomes that should be measured?
  • What components of the program will affect changes in participant health literacy levels?
  • What tools and materials will be used that work well across different contexts, languages, populations, and geographic areas?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidelines for evaluating programs specific to health literacy. When developing questions to assess health communication and health literacy programs, CDC recommends considering factors such as:

  • Is communication valued or undervalued in the area and/or within the population of focus?
  • Which activities in the program include communication elements related to health literacy?
  • What is already being measured about health-related communication?
  • What types of systems are in place for collecting, analyzing, and reporting communication data related to health literacy?
  • Who can reliably collect and report this data?

Examples of Process Evaluation Questions

  • What intervention was implemented to improve health literacy?
  • Who is the population of interest for the intervention?
  • How many people or organizations participated in the program?
  • What factors helped support program implementation?
  • What barriers did the program face related to measuring health literacy?

Examples of Outcome Evaluation Questions

  • Did the program improve personal health literacy levels, as measured by a validated scale(s)?
  • Did the program improve organizational health literacy?
  • What policy changes have resulted from program implementation?
  • Did participants report greater knowledge and/or improved communication skills after the program?

For additional information about process and outcome evaluations, see Evaluation Design in the Rural Community Health Toolkit.

Resources to Learn More

Process Evaluation vs. Outcome Evaluation
Describes the importance of understanding the what, why, and for whom you are evaluating a program and the differences between outcome and process evaluation.
Organization(s): TSNE MissionWorks