The Four General Types of Evaluation Research

The four general types of evaluation research that are used include formative evaluation, process evaluation, outcome evaluation, and impact evaluation.


Formative evaluation is a method of assessing the worth of a program, during the formation of program activities. Formative evaluation mainly focuses on the process under consideration. Formative evaluation is used to measure the strengths and weaknesses of the resources or strategies before implementation. Testing of the products or messages is performed by a small group before implementing them on a large scale. It helps in revision of the operations, before they can be fully implemented. It helps in maximizing the chances of program success prior to the starting of the activity.


Process evaluation is used to examine the strategies and tasks of the program to be implemented. This method of evaluation also includes analysis of organizational and administrative characteristics of the program. Process evaluation is used in monitoring the program, so as to ensure the feedback during the program implementation course.
Process evaluation method is used to document and examine the development and implementation of the program during the early stages. This method assesses whether strategies were implemented according to the plan and whether the expected result was obtained or not.


Outcome evaluation is used in obtaining detailed data on a project and documenting the short-term results. Outcome evaluation data basically measures people-related outcomes. It is essential to consider the outcomes of your project at different stages which include short-term, intermediate and long-term changes.
Short term outcome evaluation includes assessing changes in attitudes, knowledge and skills of the participants. Intermediate outcome evaluation includes assessing changes in individual’s behavior. Long-term outcome evaluation includes assessing changes in condition or status.
Outcome evaluation may result in information such as changes in attitude, expressions of the intended audience, shifts in behavior over intermediate or short-term.


Impact evaluation mainly focuses on the long-term results of the program, which includes changes or improvement in health status. Impact evaluations are usually very expensive and so they are hardly possible.
This method requires extended commitment and may also depend upon strategies, apart from communication. Sometimes the results obtained from impact evaluation, may not be related directly to the effects of the program. This is because of the influence of external activities on the target audience in the course of time.
Impact evaluation may result in Information such as changes in morbidity, relapsing rate, persistence of desired behavior for long-term, etc.

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