World Bridge Research, LLC
Introduction Process Evaluation
One common type of Process Evaluation is the appraisal of a program’s implementation. It documents whether the
intended design of the program has actually been executed. There can be a number of different barriers to
implementation that might include lack of funds, a shortage of personnel, unanticipated requirements or difficulty
in locating the priority population. Without understanding barriers and the progress toward program
implementation, trying to evaluate program impact or outcome is futile. An assessment of program implementation
is often conducted using qualitative methods and is usually characterized as the program’s process evaluation.
Process evaluation addresses whether the program was implemented and is providing services as intended. It
does so by documenting the program's development, operation and reasons for successful or unsuccessful
performance. This information is invaluable when considering program replication. From a process evaluation, one
might what to know:
* What is being done?
* When are things being done?
* By whom?
* To whom?
* How are these elements the same or different from the planned design?
* What are some successes?
* What are the barriers?
* Is what is being done helping achieve program goals?
As programs grow and evolve, they may change in unexpected ways that can reduce effectiveness. This “program
drift” is not always negative – some programs improve on outcomes because they are able to adapt successfully
to local needs. Whether drift results in stronger or weaker outcomes, it is important to be able to report these
findings to learn about what is being done in a program and why.
The social science research methods used for conducting process evaluations are often qualitative because the
evaluation questions tend to be exploratory in nature. Such methods include in-depth interviewing of staff,
participants and other stakeholders, observational methods and documents review.