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CDC: Introduction to Process Evaluation in Tobacco Use Prevention and Control

CDC: Introduction to Process Evaluation in Tobacco Use Prevention and Control (2008)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office on Smoking and Health (CDC/OSH, 2008) has created a manual to support process evaluations of tobacco use prevention and control programs. The purpose of the manual is to serve as technical assistance for program managers and evaluators in designing and conducting a process evaluation on a state or regional level. The manual provides practical tools to ensure the obtaining of valid and reliable evidence, and illustrates key concepts, indicators, roles and steps in the evaluation process.

The manual outlines a general framework for evaluation projects by illustrating primary indicators and information elements for an evaluation. To support the design of an evaluation, the manual presents multiple case examples and key questions to consider when deciding on a methodology. A general 10-step evaluation managing procedure introduced in the manual can be applied to different tobacco control program evaluation projects with various lengths and purposes. The manual highlights, however, that these guidelines should always be adapted to the design and focus of a process evaluation according to specific needs of each program.

Program monitoring provides basic information on the characteristics of the program, its activities and its context. Process evaluation is essential for documenting, monitoring and measuring the implementation and effectiveness of individual tobacco control activities or a set of efforts. The framework outlined by the manual is based on the understanding that together with outcome evaluation it provides vital information on the progress of selected activities. Information obtained on particular efforts can be used when assessing the overall effects of a state-wide or local program.

Evaluation information obtained from individual programs can also be used jointly in building and improving comprehensive tobacco control program models. Additionally, data obtained from process evaluation will help demonstrate the progress of the program and justify its funding to stakeholders and policy makers.

 Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Introduction to Process Evaluation in Tobacco Use Prevention and Control. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2008.

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