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Rethinking Program Fidelity for Criminal Justice

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice and Public Policy Volume: 14 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2015 Pages: 339-349
Date Published
May 2015
11 pages
This article emphasizes the importance of combining process and outcome evaluations in a "mixed method" approach in evaluation research, since program outcomes are directly related to whether the features and delivery of program services were faithful to the envisioned program model.
The author argues that such mixed-method evaluation research is underused in applied criminology and criminal justice science. In these domains, the objectives and design requirements of the process phase are poorly defined and blurred with the functions of pure qualitative research. Although applied field work enables an exploration of phenomena and contextualization of quantitative findings, process evaluation uses qualitative techniques to capture data on the circumstances and features of the actions and services that produced the outcomes measured with quantitative data. Accordingly, the foremost objective of process evaluation is to ascertain program fidelity, a concept that determines whether treatment services have been delivered in accordance with program theory and design.

Date Published: May 1, 2015