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NCJ Number: 51143 Find in a Library
Title: NATURE OF PROGRAM EVALUATION IN MENTAL HEALTH
Journal: EVALUATION  Volume:2  Issue:1  Dated:(1974)  Pages:78-82
Author(s): R W HETHERINGTON; V GREATHOUSE; W O'BRIEN; R MATTHIAS; D M WILNER
Corporate Author: Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1974
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation, Inc
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS REVIEW OF EVIDENCE FROM THE DATABANK OF PROGRAM EVALUATIONS (DOPE) UNDERSCORES SOME OF THE TECHNICAL PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED IN PROGRAM EVALUATION ACTIVITIES.
Abstract: THE DOPE IS CONCERNED WITH THE QUALITY OF AVAILABLE EVALUATION INFORMATION AND WITH THE IMPACT OF SUCH INFORMATION ON POLICY DECISIONS. IT PROVIDES AN OPPORTUNITY TO STUDY PROGRAM EFFECTIVENESS IN MANY HUMAN SERVICE AREAS AND CONTAINS INFORMATION ON PROGRAM EFFECTIVENESS IN A STANDARDIZED AND EASILY UNDERSTOOD FORMAT TO HELP CLOSE THE GAP BETWEEN RESEARCH FINDINGS AND POLICY DETERMINATIONS. PROBLEMS RELATED TO PUBLISHED EVALUATION RESEARCH SURVEYED BY THE DOPE ARE CATEGORIZED IN TERMS OF OUTCOME MEASURES, PATIENT MENTAL CONDITION AND TREATMENT PROGRAMS, AND STUDY DESIGNS. THERE IS A LACK OF STANDARDIZATION AMONG OUTCOME MEASURES, MAKING CUMULATIVE EVIDENCE IN EACH AREA DIFFICULT AND THE INTERPRETATION OF DIFFERING RESULTS ACROSS PROGRAMS IMPOSSIBLE. IN ORDER TO UNDERSTAND PROGRAM OUTCOMES, IT IS NECESSARY TO HAVE COMPLETE AND RELIABLE INFORMATION ABOUT INPUTS. THE DIAGNOSTIC CLASSIFICATION OF PATIENTS IS PROBLEMATIC BECAUSE THE DESCRIPTIONS OF THE TYPE AND SEVERITY OF MENTAL CONDITIONS ARE COMPLEX, AND TRADITIONAL CLASSIFICATION SYSTEMS ARE NOT USED. BASIC CHARACTERISTICS ABOUT DESCRIPTIONS OF PATIENTS OR CLIENTS WHICH ARE NORMALLY EXPECTED IN A RESEARCH REPORT ARE OFTEN NOT INCLUDED. ANY PRECISE DESCRIPTION OF A PATIENT, ILLNESS, AND INTERVENTION REQUIRES A SYSTEMATIC REPORTING FORMAT SO THAT THE EXACT PROCESS BY WHICH OUTCOMES ARE PRODUCED MAY BE UNDERSTOOD. SAMPLE SIZES, WHEN THEY CAN BE DETERMINED, TEND TO BE SMALL. THE PROPORTION OF SUCCESSFUL OUTCOMES DETECTED BY EVALUATION APPEARS TO BE CONSTANT, REGARDLESS OF THE STUDY DESIGN. IN THE FUTURE, THE DOPE SHOULD CONTINUE TO SCAN EXISTING EVALUATION LITERATURE AND SHOULD RAISE THE STANDARDS OF EVALUATION STUDIES BY ALERTING RESEARCHERS TO THE NEED FOR ELIMINATING PITFALLS IDENTIFIED IN EVALUATION STUDIES. EVALUATION MEASURES AND PROCEDURES APPLIED TO THE MENTAL HEALTH FIELD, PARTICULARLY TO ALCOHOL AND DRUG ABUSE PROGRAMS, ARE SHOWN IN TABLES. (DEP)
Index Term(s): Evaluation; Evaluation techniques; Information Systems and Technology; Program evaluation; Quality control
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51143

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