Assignment: Designing a Plan for Outcome Evaluation

 To prepare for this Assignment, review “Basic Guide to Program Evaluation (Including Outcomes Evaluation)” from this week’s resources, Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen S. (Eds.). (2014b). Social work case studies: Concentration year. Retrieved from , especially the sections titled “Outcomes-Based Evaluation” and “Contents of an Evaluation Plan.” Then, select a program that you would like to evaluate. You should build on work that you have done in previous assignments, but be sure to self-cite any written work that you have already submitted. Complete as many areas of the “Contents of an Evaluation Plan” as possible, leaving out items that assume you have already collected and analyzed the data.

Submit a 4- to 5-page paper that outlines a plan for a program evaluation focused on outcomes. Be specific and elaborate. Include the following information:

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  • The purpose of the evaluation, including specific questions to be answered
  • The outcomes to be evaluated
  • The indicators or instruments to be used to measure those outcomes, including the strengths and limitations of those measures to be used to evaluate the outcomes
  • A rationale for selecting among the six group research designs
  • The methods for collecting, organizing and analyzing data


Dudley, J. R. (2020). Social work evaluation: Enhancing what we do (3rd ed.) Oxford University Press.

  • Chapters 9, “Is the Intervention Effective?” (pp. 215–249)

Chapter 10, “Analyzing Evaluation Data” (pp. 255–275)
McNamara, C. (2006a). Contents of an evaluation plan. In Basic guide to program evaluation (including outcomes evaluation). Retrieved from
McNamara, C. (2006b). Reasons for priority on implementing outcomes-based evaluation.In Basic guide to outcomes-based evaluation for nonprofit organizations with very limited resources. Retrieved from
Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen S. (Eds.). (2014b). Social work case studies: Concentration year. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader].

Read the following section:

Social Work Research: Planning a Program Evaluation”



Social Work Research:
Planning a Program Evaluation

Joan is a social worker who is currently enrolled in a social
work PhD program. She is planning to conduct her dissertation
research project with a large nonprofit child welfare organization
where she has worked as a site coordinator for many years. She
has already approached the agency director with her interest, and
the leadership team of the agency stated that they would like to
collaborate on the research project.

The child welfare organization at the center of the planned
study has seven regional centers that operate fairly independently.
The primary focus of work is on foster care; that is, recruiting and
training foster parents and running a regular foster care program
with an emphasis on family foster care. The agency has a residen-
tial program as well, but it will not participate in the study. Each
of the regional centers services about 45–50 foster parents and
approximately 100 foster children. On average, five to six new
foster families are recruited at each center on a quarterly basis.
This number has been consistent over the past 2 years.

Recently it was decided that a new training program for
incoming foster parents would be used by the organization. The
primary goals of this new training program include reducing foster
placement disruptions, improving the quality of services delivered,
and increasing child well-being through better trained and skilled
foster families. Each of the regional centers will participate and
implement the new training program. Three of the sites will start
the program immediately, while the other four centers will not start
until 12 months from now. The new training program consists of
six separate 3-hour training sessions that are typically conducted
in a biweekly format. It is a fairly proceduralized training program;
that is, a very detailed set of manuals and training materials exists.
All trainings will be conducted by the same two instructors. The
current training program that it will replace differs considerably in
its focus, but it also uses a 6-week, 3-hour format. It will be used
by those sites not immediately participating until the new program
is implemented.



Joan has done a thorough review of the foster care literature
and has found that there has been no research on the training
program to date, even though it is being used by a growing
number of agencies. She also found that there are some stan-
dardized instruments that she could use for her study. In addition,
she would need to create a set of Likert-type scales for the study.
She will be able to use a group design because all seven regional
centers are interested in participating and they are starting the
training at different times.

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