Development and Pilot Test of the RAND Suicide Prevention Program Evaluation Toolkit
Feb 7, 2014
Evaluating suicide prevention programs can be challenging because suicide is a rare event and prevention programs are often complex and multifaceted. The RAND Suicide Prevention Program Evaluation Toolkit uses checklists, worksheets, and templates to help program staff design an evaluation that is appropriate for their program type, available resources, and expertise and offers guidance on analyzing the resulting data to inform improvements.
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Evaluating suicide prevention programs can be challenging because suicide is a rare event, data on suicides often lag by several years, and programs tend to have multiple components, making it difficult to discern which characteristics contributed to a given outcome. The RAND Suicide Prevention Program Evaluation Toolkit was designed to help program staff overcome these common challenges to evaluating and planning improvements to their programs. It begins by walking users through the process of developing a program logic model that ties program activities to intermediate outcomes, helping staff better understand the drivers of any changes in long-term outcomes, such as suicide rates. It then offers information about the latest evaluation research, helps users design an evaluation that is appropriate for their program type and available resources and expertise, supports the selection of measures for new evaluations and to augment or enhance ongoing evaluations, and offers basic guidance on how to analyze and use evaluation data for program improvement. Through checklists, worksheets, and templates, the toolkit takes users step by step through the process of identifying whether their programs produce beneficial effects, ultimately informing the responsible allocation of scarce resources. The toolkit's design and content are the result of a rigorous, systematic review of the program evaluation literature to identify evaluation approaches, measures, and tools used elsewhere and will be particularly useful to coordinators and directors of suicide prevention programs in the U.S. Department of Defense, Veterans Health Administration, community-based settings, and state and local health departments. A companion report, Development and Pilot Test of the RAND Suicide Prevention Program Evaluation Toolkit, offers additional background on the toolkit's design and refinement.
Introduction and Overview
Identify Your Program's Core Components and Build a Logic Model
Design an Evaluation for Your Program
Select Evaluation Measures for Your Program
Analyze Your Program's Evaluation Data
Use Evaluation Data to Improve Your Program
Summary of Program Evaluation Studies, by Program Type
Glossary of Terms
The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted within the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.
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