Impact Analysis

  • Robert L. Schalock


Impact analysis is not easy, but it is an essential outcome-based analysis to complete if you want to determine whether a given program made a difference compared to either no program or an alternative program. Thus, an absolute requirement in impact analysis is that you have a comparison group or condition against which you compare the significance of your results. For example, you might be interested in determining the impact of job training program “A” by comparing the posttraining job status of its graduates with graduates of job training program “B”, or with persons not involved in a job training program.

It has been my experience that program administrators seldom look at a comparison group of similar persons not in the program and ask, “What would have happened to my service recipients had they not entered the program?” My experience has also been that funding bodies and policy makers are very interested in impact analysis, for they want to know whether a particular education or social program made a difference, and whether some programs do better than others.

Impact analysis involves data collection, following people over time, and thinking about what actually happens to the service recipients and what would have happened had they not been served or had they served in a comparable program. Its specific purposes include the following:
  1. 1.

    Focusing on the program’s impacts.

  2. 2.

    Determining whether these impacts can be attributed with reasonable certainty to the intervention or services being evaluated.

  3. 3.

    Providing formative feedback to program managers, policy makers, and funding bodies regarding the impact of the specific program or public policy being evaluated.



Impact Analysis Group Home Cash Transfer Behavioral Skill Sample Member 
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Additional Readings

  1. Folz, D. H., Gaddis, L., Lyons, W., & Scheb, J. M. II. (1993). Saturn comes to Tennessee: Citizen perceptions of project impacts. Social Science Quarterly, 74(4), 793–802.Google Scholar
  2. Frey, S. J., & Dougherty, D. (1993). An inconsistent picture: A compilation of analyses of economic impact of competing approaches to health care reform by experts and stakeholders. Journal of The American Medical Association, 270(17), 2030–2042.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Mirin, S. M., Gossett, J. M., & Grob, M. C. (Eds.). (1991). Recent advances in outcome research. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.Google Scholar
  4. Seltzer, G. B., Begun, A., Mailick-Seltzer, R., & Wyngaarden-Krauss, M. (1991). Adults with mental retardation and their aging mothers: Impacts of siblings. Family Relations, 40(3), 310–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Zador, P. L., & Ciccone, M. A. (1993). Automobile driver fatalities in frontal impacts: Airbags compared with manual belts. American Journal of Public Health, 83(5), 661–670.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert L. Schalock
    • 1
  1. 1.Hastings CollegeHastingsUSA

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