putting together a successful high-quality comprehensive evaluation are increased if there is an ongoing collaboration between researchers, policy makers, and practitioners. Yet such collaborations are hard to create and maintain.
When experiments are not called for, a variety of nonexperimental methods and more focused experimental and quasi-experimental studies are ways to understand and assess these types of community programs for youth and help program planners and program staff build internal knowledge and skills and can highlight theoretical issues about the developmental qualities of programs. Such systematic program study should be a regular part of program operation.
Comprehensive evaluation is dependent on the availability, accessibility, and quality of both data about the population of young people who participate in these programs and instruments to track aspects of youth development at the community and program levels. The next chapter explores social indicators and data instruments to support these needs.