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SOCW 6311 Research

Social Work Practice Research week 10


Most social work agencies prepare an annual report that includes the number of services or units of service provided, the number of individuals served, and demographic data related to the population served. This is generally accompanied by a budget summary. In the past, that might have been adequate information to satisfy the public and funders, but today stakeholders are demanding greater accountability. Program evaluations, and in particular those focusing on outcomes, can provide insights into questions that such reports leave unanswered.

Outcome evaluation assesses changes in clients during or after participating in a given program. Overall, it measures the extent to which the program is achieving its short- and long-term goals. This type of program evaluation is important in showing stakeholders the positive impact of a service or program, which can lead to continued funding, or alternatively, revealing when a program is ineffectual or has lost relevancy. Such evaluations are needed in social work, as communities change, needs shift, and new evidence-based practices and modalities arise. 

Throughout the course, you have been building elements of your outcome evaluation plan as you determined needs, program activities, outcomes, and measurement instruments and data collection for your proposed program. This week, you bring those elements together into a complete plan that you could present to hypothetical stakeholders. You also gain practice in selection of appropriate group research design.



Students will:

· Justify group research design methods 

· Generate criteria for an outcome evaluation 

· Assess outcome evaluation methods from a stakeholder perspective 

· Create an outcome evaluation plan 

· Analyze stakeholder concerns about outcome evaluation 


When conducting an outcome evaluation for a program, social workers must select a research design that allows them to gather data in a feasible and appropriate manner while also maximizing validity. Group designs can be categorized as cross-sectional, meaning data is collected just once, or longitudinal, meaning data is collected twice or more. Collecting data before and after the program intervention provides a comparison that can more directly attribute client change to the program itself, rather than to an extraneous factor.

For this Discussion, you evaluate group research design methods that can be used for an outcome evaluation of a foster parent training program. You also generate criteria to be measured in the program.


Required Readings

· Dudley, J. R. (2020).  Social work evaluation: Enhancing what we do (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press.

· Chapter 9, “Is the Intervention Effective?” (pp. 215–250)

· Chapter 10, “Analyzing Evaluation Data” (pp. 255–275)

· Gregory, C., & Gellis, Z. (2020).  Problem solving therapy for home-hospice caregivers: A pilot studyLinks to an external site. .  Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life & Palliative Care, 16(4), 297–312.





Planning for an outcome evaluation can be a complex process, as you must consider the purpose, outcomes, research design, instruments, and data collection and analysis procedures. It can be difficult to plan these things without seeing them in action. After you have engaged in planning, however, the knowledge you gain can live on in other efforts. For example, you can apply knowledge and skills learned from conducting one type of evaluation to others. The evaluations themselves can even inform and complement each other throughout the life of a program. 

In this Assignment, you apply all that you have learned about program evaluation throughout this course to aid you in a complete outcome evaluation plan.




· Recall the program that you proposed in Week 4. If needed, review your previous work related to the program, client needs, and goals and intended outcomes, as well as last week’s plan for process evaluation.

· You must now develop a complete plan to evaluate the outcomes of the program.


Submit a 3- to 4-page plan for an outcome evaluation based on the new program that you proposed earlier in the course. Be specific and elaborate. Include the following information:

· A brief outline of the program 

· The purpose of the evaluation

· The outcomes to be evaluated

· The group research design that you will use and why 

· The key stakeholders and their potential concerns

· The indicators or instruments to be used to measure the outcomes

· The methods for collecting, organizing, and analyzing the data—who, how, etc.

Use the Learning Resources and peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles to support your paper. Make sure to include appropriate APA citations and a reference list.  



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