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Using the results of an evaluation
Evaluation is only worthwhile if the results are used. When we collect data for evaluation purposes we need to ask:
- So what?
This question asks: how important are the evaluation findings. Do the findings raise questions and prompt us to reconsider the programs and services that we offer? Or do the findings simply validate what we already know. If so, perhaps they provide justification that the program/service should be continued or provide evidence that the program could be expanded or adapted elsewhere.
- Now what?
This question asks: what will we do with the evaluation information? Do we continue to implement the program/services with no changes? Do we stop the program/service? Do we need to do more evaluation?Evaluation should not only be done for compliance reasons but should be seen as a tool to improve our practice. Thinking about evaluation early on can help set a clear direction of where to go and what to achieve.