Assessing and Evaluating Department of Defense Efforts to Inform, Influence, and Persuade
Apr 17, 2015
The U.S. Department of Defense has struggled to assess the progress and effectiveness of its efforts to inform, influence, and persuade audiences in support of key national security objectives. Best practices and examples from a range of sectors can guide the assessment of these activities, ensuring that they support broader military campaign goals while saving time and limited resources.
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To achieve key national security objectives, the U.S. government and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) must communicate effectively and credibly with a broad range of foreign audiences. DoD spends more than $250 million per year on inform, influence, and persuade (IIP) efforts, but how effective (and cost-effective) are they? How well do they support military objectives? Could some of them be improved? If so, how? It can be difficult to measure changes in audience behavior and attitudes, and it can take a great deal of time for DoD IIP efforts to have an impact. DoD has struggled with assessing the progress and effectiveness of its IIP efforts and in presenting the results of these assessments to stakeholders and decisionmakers. To address these challenges, a RAND study compiled examples of strong assessment practices across sectors, including defense, marketing, public relations, and academia, distilling and synthesizing insights and advice for the assessment of DoD IIP efforts and programs. These insights and attendant best practices will be useful to personnel who plan and assess DoD IIP efforts and those who make decisions based on assessments, particularly those in DoD and Congress who are responsible for setting national defense priorities and allocating the necessary resources. In addition to identifying where and why efforts have been successful, assessment can help detect imminent program failure early on, saving precious time and resources. An accompanying volume, Assessing and Evaluating Department of Defense Efforts to Inform, Influence, and Persuade: Handbook for Practitioners, offers a quick-reference guide to the best practices presented here for personnel responsible for planning, executing, and assessing DoD IIP efforts.
Identifying Best Practices and Methods for Assessment
Why Evaluate? An Overview of Assessment and Its Utility
Applying Assessment and Evaluation Principles to IIP Efforts
Challenges to Organizing for Assessment and Ways to Overcome Them
Determining What's Worth Measuring: Objectives, Theories of Change, and Logic Models
From Logic Models to Measures: Developing Measures for IIP Efforts
Assessment Design and Stages of Evaluation
Formative and Qualitative Research Methods for IIP Efforts
Research Methods and Data Sources for Evaluating IIP Outputs, Outcomes, and Impacts
Surveys and Sampling in IIP Assessment: Best Practices and Challenges
Presenting and Using Assessments
Conclusions and Recommendations
Assessing Assessments: The Metaevaluation Checklist
Survey Sampling Models and Management
Evaluating Inform, Influence, and Persuade Efforts: Examples and Additional Resources
Major Theories of Influence or Persuasion
This research was conducted within the International Security and Defense Policy Center of the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.
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