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The purpose of an outcome evaluation is fairly straightforward. Conducting a rigorous outcome evaluation is not easy. Conducting an outcome evaluation without a process evaluation is sometimes called a “black box” evaluation because what constitutes the intervention is never really considered. Process evaluations can be conducted on an ongoing basis throughout the course of the intervention, at specific timepoints (such as when the project moves from planning to service delivery, or when the first cohorts complete the program), or at the conclusion of the project.
This brief provides an overview of the various types of process evaluations, steps in conducting them and the types of data that may be useful to have in a process evaluation.