It is important to bear in mind that programs do not exist without people; they serve people and are carried out by people, and beyond those directly involved, other people are mainly interested in program outcomes. Collectively, we call all these people “stakeholders.” They bring a variety of interests, opinions, capacities, and functions that can impact programs in many ways. Program evaluators must win the cooperation of stakeholders to gather needed information and implement the evaluation process. And evaluators must take stakeholders’ interests into account so they will “buy in” to the evaluation outcomes. Therefore, evaluators need to understand stakeholders and how to skillfully manage interpersonal dynamics throughout the evaluation process.
By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:
Competency 2: Manage interpersonal dynamics of the program evaluation process.
Analyze interests of stakeholders involved with an evaluation.
Plan how to facilitate communication and collaboration with stakeholders.
Competency 4: Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent with expectations for members of the psychological professions.
Write clearly, with correct spelling, grammar, syntax, and good organization.
Comply with APA guidelines for style and formatting.
In this assessment, you will be in the enviable position of choosing your own client—you will choose one social program on which all your assessments for this course will be based. In a later assessment, you will propose an evaluation for this program, but before you do, it is necessary to make a stakeholder analysis to determine who has interests in the program, what they desire for its outcomes, and any concerns they may have. This will help you, as the evaluator, to understand the audience for your proposal and how to best communicate with them.
Preparation: Identify and Research Your Client
Identify a human service program to work with in this course. All your course assessments will be based on one social program of your choice. Choose a program involved with issues such as unemployment, economic disadvantage, homelessness, adolescent pregnancy, infant mortality, crime, domestic violence, child abuse, substance abuse, mental illness, literacy, hunger, disease control, et cetera. It would be best to choose a program that is active in your own community. If you work with such a program, you may select it for your course work. Remember, you will be using this program for purposes of evaluation.
Go to the Web site of the agency that administers the program to research basic information about it. Choose a program that discloses most required information. However, if some details cannot be found, for the purposes of assessments in this course it is permissible to infer plausible findings.
Important note: While it is ethical to invent some information to complete these learning experiences, never do this for professional work or assessments that are supposed to be based on factual research.
To successfully complete this assessment, write a 4–6 page program description and stakeholder analysis. This will be an internal planning document; its purpose is to gather information that you would share with other evaluators on your team.
Describe the program of your choice and discuss why you selected this particular program. Answer the following:
What population (or populations) does the program seek to serve?
What is the general history of the program?
What are the main goals of the program? What would be recognized as operational definitions of “success” or “successful outcomes” for the program? Analyze what the desired benefits of the program would be for each type of program participant.
How could these outcomes be measured?
What sorts of evaluative research could be undertaken to assess how well the program meets its goal?
What other questions would you like to have answered about the program?
Describe all program participants and other stakeholders. Think broadly to include all who could be involved at any level, including not only direct participants but also administrators and perhaps political authorities and others who would have a stake in program outcomes.
What are their roles and functions?
Detail how you would plan to facilitate communication and collaboration with them. (Readings in King and Stevahn’s 2013 book Interactive Evaluation Practice: Mastering the Interpersonal Dynamics of Program Evaluation are highly recommended for this.)
Despite the fact that it is beyond the scope of this assessment to actually meet with program stakeholders, what do you think the answers to following would be for each of the stakeholders you identified? Please keep in mind that while it is expedient for you to imagine the answers to these questions for this exercise, in an actual program evaluation it would extremely important for you consult with the stakeholders to research the answers to these questions.
Might there be any possible conflicts of interest among different types of stakeholders?
What risks or unfavorable outcomes might they be concerned about?
What are their desired outcomes from the program?
On the basis of the answers that you arrived at, what interpersonal or political considerations should you take into account to assure your program evaluation would be effective and appreciated?
Your assessment should meet the following requirements:
Written communication: Written communication is well organized and free of errors that detract from the overall message.
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