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For Marine and Family Division (MF) programs and services to remain meaningful, credible, and practical, their effectiveness must be able to be demonstrated. Assessing their offerings will help the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) to surge and contract the portfolio as resources wax and wane. This program evaluation toolkit is designed to help those responsible for implementing MF programs to determine whether those programs are effective — achieving their intended goals — and ultimately to guide efficient use of scarce resources. This toolkit is composed of two interrelated documents: this User's Guide and a set of Microsoft Excel workbooks that correspond to material presented in the User's Guide about collecting and analyzing data. This toolkit is based on the program evaluation literature and program evaluation toolkits produced by other RAND researchers. A review of relevant Marine Corps Orders; discussions with headquarters, branch, and program staff in MF; and reviews of publicly available websites provided additional background for the specific context of MF, USMC. The contents of this toolkit should be of particular interest to MF and staff in the five branches within the scope of this study: Behavioral Health, Family Care, Family Readiness, Personal and Professional Development, and Semper Fit. It may also be of interest to those who manage or oversee similar programs that provide support to service members and their families.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction and Toolkit Overview

  • Chapter Two

    Differentiating Among Programs, Services, and Capabilities

  • Chapter Three

    Identifying Core Components to Build a Logic Model

  • Chapter Four

    Understanding Evaluation and Planning for Your Own Evaluation

  • Chapter Five

    Evaluation Measures

  • Chapter Six

    Conducting Your Evaluation

  • Chapter Seven

    Continuous Quality Improvement

This research was sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) Marine and Family Division (MF) and conducted by the Forces and Forces and Resources Policy Center within the RAND National Defense Research Institute.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Tool series. RAND tools may include models, databases, calculators, computer code, GIS mapping tools, practitioner guidelines, web applications, and various toolkits. All RAND tools undergo rigorous peer review to ensure both high data standards and appropriate methodology in keeping with RAND's commitment to quality and objectivity.

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The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.