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Comprehensive Community Initiatives, Improving the lives of youth and families through systems change, a toolkit for federal managers
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How the toolkit was created What is a CCI? CCI Tools for Federal Staff
Develop your CCI Project
Guidelines to design evaluation
4. Support sites as they encounter the challenges of evaluating a CCI.
What can I do to help sites meet the challenges of evaluating a CCI?
To help sites meet the challenges...
  • Provide evaluation TA to build capacity and communicate expectations.
  • Help sites find evaluators who have experience with systems change.
  • Convene all stakeholders to reconcile local and multisite evaluation plans.
  • Provide tools to help sites identify appropriate measures and methods.
  • Help sites develop a local data infrastructure.
  • Invite evaluators to take part in all cross-site meetings.
  • Create a schedule for site reporting and information exchange.

Provide TA on evaluation at the beginning. Use an initial meeting with site representatives and their evaluators to build local evaluation capacity and communicate your expectations for evaluation.

Help sites find evaluators experienced with systems change. Direct them to local resources such as universities and colleges, policy think tanks, and research organizations.

Convene all stakeholders to reconcile local and multisite evaluation plans. Include Federal funders, multisite evaluators, site representatives, and local evaluators. Site evaluation confronts many of the same challenges as a multisite evaluation; for example, sites will also need to satisfy the information needs of diverse community stakeholders and document systems change as well as community change.

Assist sites with identifying outcome measures appropriate for the scope of their CCI. Encourage them to engage site stakeholders in evaluation. For guidance in selecting measures of systems change, see "What is Different about Evaluating Advocacy and Policy Change" and "Menu of Outcomes for Advocacy and Policy Work."

Help sites develop a data infrastructure. In particular, provide TA to help them figure out how to collect data from multiple agencies in a form that will allow them to compile and compare it. As much as possible, encourage sites to build on data already being collected.

Invite evaluators to accompany site representatives to cross-site meetings so they can compare their approaches with other evaluators and learn from one another.

Create a schedule for site reporting and information exchange between the grantee and its program officer. Discuss the site's evaluation data, and help the site use its data to make program adjustments. Support site achievements.

What strategies will help me work on evaluation with tribal and rural communities?
When assisting tribal and rural sites with evaluation...
  • Use a culturally responsive approach to evaluation.
  • Seek out evaluators affiliated with tribal and local universities.
  • Provide avenues for regional networking and sharing of evaluation resources.
  • Work with sites to build or enhance data collection systems.
  • Offer TA to build trust in and knowledge about evaluation and how it contributes to desired outcomes.
  • Use a culturally responsive approach to evaluation. Ensure that tribal communities' cultural perspectives are integrated into the evaluation process. Consult elders on the evaluation design, and engage local stakeholders through a participatory approach. Case studies (storytelling) and observation are a better fit than traditional data collection methodologies. See Sections I through IV in the Phase II CIRCLE Evaluation Proposal. Also see Participatory Action Research.

  • Seek out evaluators affiliated with tribal and local universities.

  • Provide avenues for regional networking and sharing of evaluation resources. Isolated communities without local resources may need to recruit professionals from great distances or share limited resources among a number of communities.

  • Work with sites to build or enhance a data collection system. Some communities will have no experience with data collection and will need to build a system from scratch. Others might have antiquated data systems that will need to be upgraded. Fund TA to build sites' capacity for data collection. Also fund the purchase of computers, software, and technical services for data entry and analysis.

  • Offer TA to build trust in and knowledge about the evaluation process and how it contributes to desired outcomes. Communities might be wary of evaluation and resistant to putting resources into the process. To build commitment to evaluation, allocate time to learn about local concerns and perspectives. Use what you learn to adapt your approach to evaluation.