Research Methods Brief: Anatomy of Process Evaluations for P/CVE
Keywords:Preventing Violent Extremism, PVE, Countering Violent Extremism, CVE, P/CVE, Design, Evaluation, Process Evaluation
Process Evaluations are evaluations focused on understanding how a program is implemented. This also can include evaluating the extent to which a program is implemented according to plan (i.e., evaluating its “program fidelity”). In short, process evaluations seek to identify a program’s “moving parts” to assess the extent to which they are functioning as intended. Ideally, that includes uncovering the theoretical mechanisms—the reasons “why”—a program’s outputs or outcomes are (or are not) achieved. Understanding why a program is (or is not) working as well as expected is the backbone of evidence-based P/CVE program design and evaluation, and is essential to informing sound P/CVE program management decision-making. Consequently, without exception, good P/CVE-related research, or evaluation projects—those that are scientifically grounded—must include at least some element(s) of process evaluation. This research methods brief describes the fundamental components of process evaluations, common pitfalls and means to avoid those pitfalls, within the context of P/CVE program design and evaluation.
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