Evaluation is the systematic collection and analysis of information about program activities, characteristics, and outcomes to reduce uncertainty, improve effectiveness, and make decisions.
Two common types of evaluation can help substance abuse prevention professionals develop and implement successful programming:
1. Implementation/Process Evaluation: helps determine if a program has been implemented as intended.
2. Effectiveness/Outcome Evaluation: assesses the progress toward meeting short-term, intermediate, and long-term outcomes.
A good evaluation can help communities become more skillful and exact in describing what they plan to do, monitor what they are doing, and improve service delivery. Evaluation results can and should be used to determine what efforts should be sustained and to assist in sustainability planning efforts. Ultimately, good evaluation will help improve not only our own programs but those implemented by others.
From SPF: Step 5. Evaluation by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration