What is Program Evaluation?

There are probably as many definitions of “program evaluation” or “evaluation research” as there are program evaluators. One of the most commonly used definitions is offered by  Michael Quinn Patton, “Program evaluation is the systematic collection and analysis of information about program activities, characteristics, and outcomes to make judgments about the program, improve program effectiveness, and/or inform decisions about future programming” (Patton, 1997).

When it comes down to it, evaluation is an important tool that your organization can use to demonstrate its accountability, improve its performance, and showcase the impact your programs and services are making.

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