About This Series
Publication Date: January 2010
minus iconWhat Are Performance Measurement and Program Evaluation?
What Are the Basic Steps?
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What Are the Basic Steps?

Formulate Research Questions

Research questions define the issues the evaluation will investigate and are worded so that they can be answered using research methods. These questions emerge from the goals and objectives of the evaluation and determine its design.

Here are some of the questions you may consider for your evaluation:

  • What obstacles does the community face in providing services to victims?
  • Is there a viable network of services to respond adequately and appropriately to the needs of victims?
  • Has the number of victims being identified and served increased? If so, what is the increase?
  • What additional or enhanced services have been provided?
  • Have previously unserved victims received services?
  • What approaches have been successful in overcoming obstacles to establish or enhance services for victims?
  • How were these approaches developed and implemented?
  • How do you plan to sustain your victim service program over time?

To ensure that you are asking the right research questions—

  • Verify the focus of your evaluation. Why are you evaluating your program? For example, your focus may be to ensure that your program’s activities are meeting the needs of its target population: crime victims.
  • Gear the questions to the decisions you want to make. For example, you may tailor your questions toward finding ways to fill gaps in meeting your program’s goals or improving its services.
  • Make the questions specific. For example, you may want to know how many staff are needed to provide basic counseling services.