This brief – the third of seven toolkit resources that support the Urban Institute’s formative evaluation of the VictimConnect Resource Center – describes the activities of the Urban’s researchers in assessing VictimConnect’s evaluability, which involved a multi-step process to clarify VictimConnect’s program model, assess its operations, agree on research-focused program changes, and determine evaluation designs and priorities.
This evaluability assessment was conducted in collaboration with VictimConnect staff. As described by the Center for Victim Research, an “evaluability assessment” of a victim services program such as VictimConnect may “focus on developing the program’s model by describing its services and expected benefits, assessing its operational reach, or strengthening its performance-monitoring practices.” Urban’s evaluability of VictimConnect involved the following six steps: 1) Involve intended users, which consisted of regular conversations between Urban and VictimConnect staff about the evaluability assessment; 2) Clarify program intent and activities, which involved defining VictimConnect’s goal, objectives, inputs, activities, outputs, and outcomes; 3) Explore program reality, which involved observations and conversations about VictimConnect’s delivery of services; 4) Reach agreement on program design changes that resulted from conversations between Urban researchers and VictimConnect staff about ways to improve internal performance monitoring and ways to facilitate evaluation of the program’s effect on outcomes; 5) Explore alternative evaluation designs to build research capacity; and 6) Agree on evaluation priorities and use of evaluation results. Completing these steps facilitated a future evaluation that will provide knowledge needed to strengthen the evidence base for what works in technology-based victim services. 3 tables and 15 references