About This Series
Publication Date: January 2010
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About This GuideResources




American Evaluation Association

The American Evaluation Association is an international professional association of evaluators devoted to the application and exploration of program evaluation, personnel evaluation, technology evaluation, and many other forms of evaluation. The association provides links to help you find an evaluator and information on training opportunities.

The Evaluation Center, Western Michigan University

The Evaluation Center’s mission is to advance the theory, practice, and use of evaluation. The center’s principal activities include research, development, dissemination, instruction, and national and international leadership in the field of evaluation. The center serves a select group of clients, including school districts, nonprofit agencies, government agencies, foundations, and colleges, helping them to evaluate their programs. The center also provides evaluation training to the field.


Data are pieces of specific information collected as part of an evaluation.

Data analysis is the process of applying systematic methods or statistical techniques to compare, describe, explain, or summarize data.

Evaluation plan provides the framework for conducting the evaluation.

Evaluator is an individual trained and experienced in designing and conducting evaluations.

Goals are measurable statements of the desired long-term, global impact of the program. Goals generally address change.

Impacts are the desired long-term effects of the program.

Indicators are measures that demonstrate the extent to which goals have been achieved.

Inputs are the resources that your program uses in its activities to produce outputs and outcomes.

Intermediate outcomes are program results that emerge after immediate outcomes, but before long-term outcomes.

Key partners are organizations that are formal partners of your program either through a memorandum of understanding or another type of formal agreement.

Needs assessment is a process for pinpointing reasons for gaps in performance or a method for identifying new and future performance needs.

Outcome evaluations examine overall program effects. This type of evaluation focuses on goals and objectives and provides useful information about program results.

Outcomes are the intended initial, intermediate, and final results of an activity.

Performance measurement is the ongoing monitoring and reporting of a program’s accomplishments and progress toward preestablished goals.

Process evaluations assess the extent to which the program is functioning as planned.

Program evaluation is a systematic process of obtaining credible information to be used to assess a program and improve it.

Qualitative data are a record of thoughts, observations, opinions, or words. These data are difficult to measure, count, or express in numerical terms.

Quantitative data are numeric information such as a rating of an opinion on a scale, usually from 1 to 5. These data can be counted, measured, compared, and expressed in numerical terms.

Research questions are developed by the evaluator to define the issues that are critical to the evaluation. These questions are worded so that they can be answered using research methods.