Monday, June 18, 2012

[EQ] A Guide to Evaluation in Health Research

A Guide to Evaluation in Health Research

Sarah Bowen, Associate Professor
Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Public Health -University of Alberta
Canadian Institutes of Health Research CIHR- June 2012

Available online PDF [55p.] at:

The purpose of this learning module, therefore, is to build knowledge and skill in the area of evaluation of health and health research initiatives (including knowledge translation initiatives).


a.       Build knowledge among both researchers and reviewers of the potential for evaluation to support evidence-informed action;

b.       Support development of appropriate evaluation plans required and/or appropriate for research funding proposals, and;

c.       Facilitate assessment of evaluation plans by peer and merit reviewers.

This learning module will:

·         provide an overview of the scope and potential of evaluation activities;

·         define key concepts and address common misconceptions about evaluation;

·         explore the relationship between evaluation and knowledge translation;

·         provide guidance for selecting the purpose, approach and focus of an evaluation; and,

·         identify, and provide guidance for, the key steps in the evaluation planning and implementation process.

While it will provide a brief overview of key concepts in evaluation, and is informed by various evaluation approaches (theories), the primary purpose of this module is to serve as a practical guide for those with research skill but limited experience conducting evaluations. While this module focuses on evaluation in the context of health research and knowledge translation, it is important to keep in mind that there are multiple evaluation approaches, theories and methods appropriate for different contexts.
This module is divided into five sections.

Section 1: Evaluation: A Brief Overview provides a short overview of evaluation, addresses common misconceptions, and
                     defines key terminology that will be used in the module.
Section 2, Getting started, which provides guidance for the preliminary work that is required in planning an evaluation
Section 3, Designing an Evaluation, which will lead you through the steps of developing an evaluation plan.
Section 4, Special Issues in Evaluation discusses some of the ethical, conceptual and logistical issues specific to evaluation.
Section 5: Resources, includes a glossary, a checklist for evaluation planning and sample evaluation templates.

Throughout the module, concepts will be illustrated with concrete examples – drawn from case studies of actual evaluations.


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