7. EvaluationCapacity to evaluate programs
You should constantly be evaluating your program to see if it is meeting your goals, both in terms of community cessation levels and in terms of program methodology. When planning an intervention, you should evaluate such questions as, “Will staff andvolunteers be able to implement the intervention steps effectively?” and, “Will staff and volunteers know what specifically to do in order to accomplish the program’s objectives?” Once the program has been established, evaluate whether you are achievingwhat you wanted to achieve. Is there a significant change in community values or norms? If you are dealing with individuals, what are the success rates at six months? At twelve months? To answer these questions, elicit community members’ feedback. Conduct focus groups or individual interviews. Develop mail surveys, online surveys, and/or telephone polls. When evaluating individual’s success, be prepared to use biochemical means to accurately test for quit rates if you would like to publish the results of your intervention. Likewise, if publishing evaluations of changes at the community level, use tools that have been rigorously tested and proven to be valid. These can be found by reviewing cessation literature. Be familiar with published research on other smoking cessation programs around the country. Use their findings on what works and what does not to enhance your program. Remember, however, what works in one program may not work in another because of cultural differences, environmental differences, etc. Consider the circumstances in the existing research and evaluate whether or not they apply to your specific intervention’s circumstances. Emphasize that whatever criticism and advice a person gives will be used to improve your program. Following through with that line of reasoning, once you solicit feedback, use it. If twenty out of thirty people did not understand an educational brochure, change it so that they will. Finally, to reemphasize the most important aspect of evaluation: constantly use the information obtained to improve the success of your intervention.
A Ability to engage community members in ongoing evaluation activities
B Ability to engage community members and local leaders in using evaluation findings to make program-related decisions
C Ability to evaluate programs in terms of community-level outcomes
D Ability to evaluate programs in terms of the processes used to achieve goals and objectives
E Ability to evaluate program designs by utilizing existing research to learn what works and under what circumstances
F Ability to use data generated through evaluation activities to improve program performance