Evaluation is a process that can be used to measure if and how a program or intervention is working. When it comes to prevention, we approach evaluation as a way to create checks and balances from the beginning to the end of a prevention program - to see if the prevention efforts are creating the kind of change we want to see.
Good prevention begins with finding out what your community needs. A needs assessment is an evaluation method that identifies areas of strength and need in a community and can help determine where to start with prevention programming. Once you have this data, you can work with the community to develop goals and objectives. Once a strategy has been selected and implemented, process evaluations like surveys, interviews, and focus groups can be used throughout to check in with participants and measure how the program is working. At this stage, you can make changes if something isn’t working. Then, when a program is completed, you can evaluate the impact of that program based on the goals and objectives that were established in the beginning and make changes as needed for the next implementation.