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Section 3. Refining the Program or Intervention Based on Evaluation Research

What do we mean by refining the intervention?

___Refining the intervention is the process of making your work more effective by using evaluation information

___Key reflection questions include:

  • What are we seeing?
  • What does it mean?
  • What are the implications for improvement?

Why should you use your evaluation research to refine the intervention?

___Understanding and improving your work is one of the main purposes of evaluation

When should you refine the intervention?

___Throughout the life of an intervention or program

___When it’s clear that what you’re doing isn’t working

___When participants are dropping out at a high rate

___Between sessions of a time-limited or sequential program

___When funders or participants ask you to adjust some aspect(s) of your program

___When funding or other resources are reduced

___When the goal or issue changes character

Who should be involved in refining the intervention?


___Staff members, paid or volunteer

___People who are directly or indirectly involved in implementing or supporting your work

___Those who led and participated in the evaluation

How do you refine an intervention based on research?

___Determine whether your process – the planning, set-up and implementation of the program – went as planned

___Determine whether your program had the desired impact on the behaviors and risk and protective factors you targeted

___If there was no impact, or only a partial impact (or a negative impact), that could affect the program’s outcomes

___Determine whether your program achieved its desired outcomes

___If the program achieved its desired outcomes, consider how you can expand and strengthen the areas that worked well, and make the program more efficient and effective

___If the program failed to achieve the desired outcomes, work backwards – “but why” – to find where the problems lie

___If the program failed to have the intended impact on the targeted behaviors and risk and protective factors, that could explain the fact that you didn’t meet your outcome goals

___If the program had the intended impact on the targeted behaviors and factors, but failed to achieve the desired outcomes, you may have targeted the wrong behaviors or factors

___If some or all of the process was different from what was planned, that might affect the program’s impact on the targeted factors

___If the planning process or reasoning was faulty, it could result in targeting the wrong factors, or in using ineffective methods that target the right factors

___Once you’ve determined where and how to make adjustments and done it, repeat the evaluation and refinement cycle for the life of the intervention