Outcome evaluation is what most people think of when they hear the term evaluation. It focuses on determining whether a program improves one or more targeted outcomes for those served (e.g., health, mental health, quality of life, risk of falling, re-hospitalization rates, etc.). Outcome evaluation requires that targeted clients are compared to a control group who are similar to clients in every way except for the fact that they are not exposed to the program being studied.
Outcome evaluation is often expensive and time-consuming, and requires the involvement of experts with a track record of documenting their knowledge of and experience with evaluation research and statistics. Generally, the Foundation only funds outcome studies when the proposed project is likely to be replicable and already has been pilot-tested to document that it is feasible to implement. Specifically, outcome evaluation is relevant for applicants who are proposing to test the effects of programs that are innovative, replicable, and already shown to be feasible.
RRF has developed two sets of guidelines for outcome evaluation: one for applicants with limited research expertise and a second for experienced researchers. Applicants with limited research and evaluation experience are encouraged to include funds for an expert evaluation consultant in their program budget.