Step 6: Use the Results
You will want to think about how you will use the results of your program evaluation right from the start .Some questions to think about as you plan for evaluation are: What will you do with your findings? How will you communicate the results?
You should also think about (and prepare for) for both positive and negative results. It will be important to think about how you will give feedback to your stakeholders. This follow-up should include helping them interpret findings as well as emotional support, if needed.
Be prepared for various outcomes:
- How will you deal with positive findings
- How will you deal with unwanted outcomes?
- How will you communicate the results
Sharing the results from your evaluation
Now it’s time to think about how you will communicate the results with your various audiences – from your own program or service to community members and policy leaders. Design strategies will be important. In general, most people don’t spend the time reading lengthy reports. Therefore, you will want to consider dissemination strategies that are clear, cohesive, and concise. This could include one-page summaries of your work, visual representations of your findings, or verbal presentations of what you have found. Although these dissemination strategies may change as your evaluation progresses, it is important to not leave these discussions until the end. Dissemination strategies are discussed in greater detail here.
Throughout these steps, you should think about the ethical integrity of your plan, recognizing the diversity of your potential evaluation participants, and working collaboratively within and outside your agency.
Finally, there are some things to pay attention to when developing your evaluation plan that may impact the quality of your results.
- Methods: If processes are too rigid, they may not yield useful results
- Feasibility: If your plan is too complex, the data will be too hard to collect and/or analyze
- Timing: If you evaluate too early, your results won’t be meaningful
- Planning: If you fail to create a plan, your findings could be invalid.