Healthy People 2020 Tools:
Questions to Ask and Answer:
- Are we evaluating our work?
- Did we follow the plan?
- What did we change?
- Did we reach our goal?
Plan regular evaluations to measure and track your progress over time.
Consider partnering with a local university or state center for health statistics to help with data tracking. Some things to think about when you are evaluating data over time:
- Data Quality: Be sure to check for standardization of data collection, analysis, and structure of questions.
- Limitations of Self-Reported Data: When you are relying on self-reported data (such as exercise frequency or income), be aware of self-reporting bias.
- Data Validity and Reliability: Watch out for revisions of survey questions and/or the development of new data collection systems. This could affect the validity of your responses over time. (Enlist a statistician to help with validity and reliability testing.)
- Data Availability: Data collection efforts are not always performed on a regular basis.
Do not forget to share your progress—and successes—with your community.
If you see a positive trend in data, issue a press release or announcement.
Field Notes: New Jersey
For its 1996 and 1999 updates to the State’s year 2000 objectives, New Jersey’s statistical and program staff assessed progress and analyzed trends. Based on their trend analysis, staff categorized each objective and sub-objective as “likely to be achieved,” “unlikely to be achieved,” or “uncertain.”
- State Program Evaluation Guides: Developing an Evaluation Plan (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008)
- The Community Toolbox