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1.0 What is Evaluation?

Broadly speaking, evaluation assesses the value, quality or impact of any given activity, effort. While general evaluation work may have a broad scope, in terms of the mental health and addictions services on campus, an evaluation refers to the work of assessing how programs or services are affecting the student population and others on campus. More specifically, evaluation of programs and services refers to the systematic collection of information about the activities, characteristics and outcomes of programs and services to make judgments about them, improve their effectiveness and inform future decision-making about them.

Evaluation is a key way to learn. It is also a key way for you to share the story of the work you do so that others can learn from your experiences.

Evaluating your program or service enables you to demonstrate how well your work is serving your student populations and contributes to:

  • Planning for your program or service in the future;
  • Building partnerships and collaborations;
  • Engaging in outreach or promotion for your program or service
  • Strengthening funding proposals to raise resources.

There are multiple ways to evaluate your work and understanding the language of evaluation is the first step in determining which type, approach and methodology is best suited for your evaluation needs (see section 2.2d for details on evaluation methods and data). However, there are 2 key types of evaluation that are the most useful for you to know about now.

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