Process Evaluation

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Screenshot of Section 4 of the evaluation toolkit.This is Section 4 of the Evaluation Toolkit
for the TA & D Network.
Read about the toolkit.

Process evaluation can help you document, monitor, and assess the implementation, operations, and progress of your dissemination work. With process evaluation, TA & D projects can monitor their progress in achieving dissemination objectives, tasks and activities.

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Value of process evaluation

TA & D projects can document the what and the how about dissemination tasks, and the extent to which target audiences were reached, and if they found what you disseminated to be of high quality, relevant to their professional or personal lives, and potentially useful.

Process evaluation can help TA & D project staff to:

  • stay focused on dissemination plans;
  • periodically check-in about progress in completing dissemination tasks;
  • determine which dissemination strategies and materials might benefit from tweaking and improvements;
  • identify factors that are supportive (e.g., collaboration with other TA & D projects) as well as possible barriers to completing activities (e.g., low income parents without internet access); and
  • adjust dissemination work, as needed.

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Elements to look at with process evaluation

With process evaluation, you might want to look at:

Web traffic | Key indicators about the amount and type of web traffic your project is getting, as well as some feedback from website users about the quality of your website resources.

Social media | Social media (Facebook, Twitter) indicators (e.g., postings, followers) should be considered.

Newsletters | You could look at the reach of newsletters or other materials you use to disseminate information and resources by tracking the number and type of target audience members that received and then actually “opened” your internet-based products. You might want to get feedback regarding the quality and relevance of information, products, and resources that were disseminated.

Changes over time | Perhaps, most importantly, think about collecting measures to track change over time. For example, you might want to know to what extent your dissemination reach has been sustained or even increased over time, and whether such changes seem related to making adjustments or enhancements to your dissemination strategies.

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Other uses of process evaluation

Process evaluation can also be used to:

1 | Monitor progress in completing plans and conducting dissemination strategies such as trainings, workshops and webinars. TA & D projects might find it helpful to use a “process” tool to guide their work in planning and conducting more complex dissemination events such as trainings or workshops that involve specific learning objectives, multiple topics and sessions, and several presenters. Such a tool could help to monitor:

(a) development of the agenda, workshop design, session content, and resources;

(b) the participant recruitment procedures and progress;

(c) actual participation rates (i.e., the number and types of target audience groups who attended); and

(d) process-oriented feedback from participants (e.g., their assessments about the quality, relevance and potential usefulness of sessions they attended).

2 | Document, track, and conduct trend analyses on the reach to specific target audience groups of specific dissemination strategies. For example, parent centers might want to keep track of the number of fact sheets on specific topics (e.g., parent role in the IEP process; resources on autism) that are accessed on their project websites, distributed as paper copies at parent workshops, or sent out via regular mail. These types of process data could be tracked and documented in comparable time periods (e.g., monthly, quarterly) to provide an assessment of trends over time.

3 | Assess how well the procedures and processes used in joint OSEP project dissemination efforts are working. For example, the Regional Resource Centers (RRCs) could monitor and assess their work in developing tools and resources about student performance and achievement measures for State Education Agency (SEA) staff. This assessment could focus on ensuring that input from a representative sample of SEA staff was obtained regarding how the tools and resources were used, e.g., development of policies, program guidance to school districts and schools, in trainings and presentations; as well as suggestions for modifying and improving the tools, and development of additional, related resources.

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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 on process evaluation
Sawyer, R. (2012). Process evaluation. In Toolkit for the OSEP TA & D network on how to evaluate dissemination: A component of the dissemination initiative (pp. 7-8). 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

Formative Evaluation

Process Evaluation (you’re already here!)

Summative Evaluation

Data Collection Methods

Focus Groups



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