Reporting Outcome-Based Evaluation Results
Credibility and communication are the focus of this chapter. Just as contextual variables need to be addressed in any program evaluation, program evaluators must also deal frequently with two realities: (1) the nature of their outcome-based analysis results and (2) a skeptical audience. It would be nice if the analysis were unequivocal and the audience always friendly, but that is not the general case. Thus, evaluators must work hard to establish (and maintain) their credibility, along with communicating clearly the results of their outcome-based evaluations, which are frequently equivocal and playing to a skeptical audience.
The importance of these two realities is reflected in a recent medication study that I was asked to do by a mental health program administrator who wanted to know the effects of reducing psychotropic medication levels used on clientele. The study found that medication reduction was not associated with significant behavioral changes, increased use of restraints, or increased injuries to staff. But a skeptical audience came into play when the results were presented to the nursing and ward personnel, who were reasonably certain beforehand that medication reduction had deleterious effects. Thus, when it came time to interpret the findings, many staff were convinced that the study’s results were wrong at worst, and equivocal at best.
KeywordsContextual Variable Medication Reduction Attrition Analysis Community Mental Health Journal Significant Behavioral Change
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