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Evaluation Considerations

Careful consideration should be given to the best type of evaluation, depending on the purpose of the evaluation and the information needed. Information on program participation numbers and outcomes is one good place to start, and this requires having quantitative data from multiple points in time. Evaluators will need to consider what data is available and how much time they have to conduct the evaluation.

In addition to collecting and analyzing quantitative data on program numbers and outcomes, it is also important to conduct qualitative evaluations of mental health programs. This could include collecting qualitative data from patients regarding their experience and satisfaction with the program.

Programs should consider whose perspectives are being included in any evaluation. For example, patients who are lost to follow-up may be difficult to include, but their perspectives would be valuable to ascertaining the overall effectiveness of the program in meetings its goals. Any evaluation strategy should work to minimize barriers to participation, including transportation and time constraints.

Resources to Learn More

Determining the Effectiveness of Mental Health Services from a Consumer Perspective: Part 2: Barriers to Recovery and Principles for Evaluation
Document
Describes the importance of consumer involvement in program evaluation.
Author(s): Happell, B.
Citation: International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 17(2), 123-30
Date: 2008

Qualitative Methods in Mental Health Services Research
Document
Describes various qualitative methods used in researching mental health services.
Author(s): Palinkas, L. A.
Citation: Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 43(6), 851-861
Date: 12/2014

Selecting an Appropriate Evaluation Design
Document
Provides information on issues to consider when choosing the best evaluation design for a mental health or substance use program.
Organization(s): Prevention Solutions@EDC
Date: 08/2015