Assessing and Evaluating DoD Inform, Influence, and Persuade Efforts

Guidance for Practitioners

Published in: IO Sphere: The Professional Journal of Joint Information Operations, Summer 2015, p. 30-38

Posted on RAND.org on July 08, 2015

by Christopher Paul, Jessica Yeats, Colin P. Clarke, Miriam Matthews, Lauren Skrabala

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The Most Informative Results for DoD IIP Efforts Come from the Intersection of Academic Evaluation and Public Communications. While usable and useful lessons came from all the sectors reviewed, the best insights came from the intersection of public communication (particularly social marketing) and academia. When we say best, we mean best in terms of applicability to defense IIP assessment, methodological rigor, and being novel to defense assessment. Public communication provided the best analogy for defense IIP. In the for-profit sector, many assessment efforts and measures connected to sales, earnings, return on investment, or something else that is explicitly monetized, which tends to break the analogy with defense. In public communication, however, behavior or attitudinal change is sought (as in defense IIP)--often from at-risk, hard-to-reach, or other challenging audiences (again, as in defense IIP). Where public communication assessment has been conducted according to the best practices of evaluation research, it has achieved a very compelling combination of effective, thoughtful assessment and methodological rigor. This combination is rare in existing defense IIP assessment practice, but we believe that the core principles and best practices from top-quality assessment efforts in public communication provide an excellent template for defense.

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