Evaluating the CDCs Prevention Research Centers Network: A Model for Stakeholder-oriented Evaluation Planning
Description: In August, 2013, the PRC Program began planning a mixed-methods evaluation of the PRC network’s process and collective impact for the 2014-2019 funding cycle. Evaluation planning was utilization-focused and took a collaborative approach which systematically engaged program stakeholders (PRCs, CDC program management and staff) in the process. A multidisciplinary CDC workgroup convened to develop the evaluation’s purposes, questions, and indicators, guided by the program’s Funding Opportunity Announcement, logic model, previous PRC evaluation, and CDC priorities. The PRC Program operationalized the indicators and developed quantitative and qualitative instruments to capture program inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes, and impact. A new component of the evaluation includes data collection to complete cost analysis of PRCs’ primary research projects. All evaluation instruments were pilot-tested by volunteers from the PRCs. Evaluation planning was an iterative process in which PRC and program management feedback was solicited through conference calls, in-person meetings, and email and integrated into the evaluation plan at each stage.
Conclusion: Challenges identified included diverse efforts of the PRCs, lack of benchmarks, lack of proven models, limited resources, and the potential impact of changing expectations. The PRC Program’s evaluation planning process provides a model for other academic networks interested in planning stakeholder-oriented evaluations.
Learning Areas:Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related research
Describe evaluation plan development for a diverse academic research network. Identify challenges and facilitators to evaluation planning.
Keyword(s): Evaluation, Public Health Research