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CDC: Developing an evaluation plan

CDC: Developing an evaluation plan (2011)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) and Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity (DNPAO) have developed a workbook (CDC 2011) to offer technical guidance on developing program evaluation plans in public health evaluation projects. The guidelines and practical step-to-step process descriptions outlined in the workbook can be applied to the planning on various tobacco control program evaluations.

An evaluation plan is necessary to describe and clarify how a program evaluation will be conducted, and how the evaluation results will be used. An evaluation plan links the evaluation with program planning, as the evaluation plan clarifies the program goals and the processes needed to assess the outcomes of the program. The workbook presents central concepts and key questions to support the writing of an evaluation plan, and constructing a dissemination plan for future results.

The workbook includes practical advice on developing an evaluation plan through worksheets, exercises, and examples. Based on the CDC Framework for Program Evaluation in Public Health (1999), the workbook describes six key steps for evaluation planning:

  1. Engage stakeholders
  2. Describe the program
  3. Focus the evaluation design
  4. Gather credible evidence
  5. Justify conclusions
  6. Ensure use and share lessons learned

The workbook aims at creating a shared understanding among programme evaluators on what an evaluation plan should include and how a plan should be developed. However, the guidelines described in the workbook should be adapted according to the programme’s specific needs in each country or region. A selection of additional resources on implementing program evaluation is also provided in the book, and they can be used along with this guide.

Source: Developing an Effective Evaluation Plan: Setting the Course for Effective Program Evaluation. Atlanta, Georgia: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, 2011. Available at: