An Approach to Evaluating Dissemination

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TScreenshot of getting ready to evaluate.his is Section 2 of the Evaluation Toolkit
for the TA & D Network, as adapted for the web.

Read about the toolkit.

Your project can use a fairly straightforward approach to evaluating its dissemination efforts. That approach will likely involve three elements:

Formative evaluation | Identify your target audiences’ needs for information and resources, which in turn can help you develop new or revise existing dissemination strategies and products.

Process evaluation | Look at whether or not your dissemination methods are operating as you intended, and the extent to which information and products are reaching your intended audience(s).

Summative evaluation | The biggie! Determine the extent to which users are actually using and benefiting from your dissemination.

It’s very likely that your TA & D project is already using some or all of these approaches. Because each approach plays a particular role in evaluation, each is discussed in a separate section in the printed toolkit and here, on our website.  (You can access those discussions through the menu at the bottom of this page.)

As you read through these separate pages and decide which strategies to use in your evaluation, here’s a tip from a seasoned evaluator that might come in handy:

  • Focus your evaluation efforts on what’s important to your project and what’s doable.

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Formative evaluation: Sample questions and methods

Formative evaluation is helpful when you’re designing and developing your dissemination strategies, products, and materials. Consider the evaluation questions posed below and the methods you might use to answer those questions.

Example evaluation questions about dissemination

What are the special education and disability topic, information, and resource needs of our different target audiences?

What types of dissemination strategies do our target audience members prefer?

Which strategies will most broadly and effectively reach our audiences?

What feedback do our target audiences have about our resources and dissemination methods?

Evaluation methods you could use to answer your evaluation questions

  • Interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Brief surveys
  • Feedback forms included on your dissemination products

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Process evaluation: Sample questions and methods

Process evaluation is good for monitoring and assessing the implementation of your dissemination strategies, products, and materials.

Example evaluation questions about dissemination

How well are we achieving our dissemination plan objectives?

Are we adequately reaching our target audience members with different dissemination strategies?

How do our target audiences rate the quality and relevance of materials and products we disseminate?

Evaluation methods you could use to answer your evaluation questions

  • Website analytics
  • Analytics of your electronic newsletter,
  • Social media analytics
  • Project progress reports
  • Interviews
  • Surveys
  • Feedback forms included on dissemination products

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Summative evaluation: Sample questions and methods

Summative evaluation is used when assessing outcomes and results from dissemination strategies, products, and materials.

Example evaluation questions about dissemination

In what ways have our dissemination strategies and products benefited target audiences?

In what ways have consumers of our dissemination work directly applied and used our information and resources in their professional or personal lives?

Evaluation methods you could use to answer your evaluation questions

  • Surveys
  • Interviews
  • Feedback forms

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Suggested citation

This webpage is an excerpt from the evaluation toolkit produced by NICHCY. The suggested citation is:

To the entire toolkit
Sawyer, R. (2012). Toolkit for the OSEP TA & D network on how to evaluate dissemination: A component of the dissemination initiative. Washington, DC: National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities.

To this section/webpage 
Sawyer, R. (2012). An approach to evaluating dissemination. In Toolkit for the OSEP TA & D network on how to evaluate dissemination: A component of the dissemination initiative (pp. 2-4). Washington, DC: National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities.

 
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What section of the toolkit would you like to read now?

Introduction to the Toolkit

An Approach to Evaluating Dissemination (you’re already here!)

Formative Evaluation

Process Evaluation

Summative Evaluation

Data Collection Methods

Focus Groups

Interviews

Surveys

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