propriate in the context of issues with greater political salience or more relevance to the concerns of key audiences for the evaluation.

In particular, questions about aspects of program performance other than impact that may be important to answer in their own right, or in conjunction with addressing impact questions, include the following:

  1. Questions about the need for the program, e.g., the nature and magnitude of the problem the program addresses and the characteristics of the population served. Assessment of the need for a program deals with some of the most basic evaluation questions—whether there is a problem that justifies a program intervention and what characteristics of the problem make it more or less amenable to intervention. For a program to reduce gang-related crime, for instance, it is useful to know how much crime is gang-related, what crimes, in what neighborhoods, and by which gangs.

  2. Questions about program conceptualization or design, e.g., whether the program targets the appropriate clientele or social units, embodies an intervention that could plausibly bring about the desired changes in those units and involves a delivery system capable of applying the intervention to the intended units. Assessment of the program design examines the soundness of the logic inherent in the assumption that the intervention as intended can bring about positive change in the social conditions to which it is directed. One might ask, for instance, whether it is a sound assumption that prison visitation programs for juvenile offenders, such as Scared Straight, will have a deterrent effect for impressionable antisocial adolescents (Petrosino et al., 2003a).

  3. Questions about program implementation and service delivery, e.g., whether the intended intervention is delivered to the intended clientele in sufficient quantity and quality, if the clients believe they benefit from the services, and how well administrative, organizational, personnel, and fiscal functions are handled. Assessment of program implementation, often called process evaluation, is a core evaluation function aimed at determining how well the program is operating, especially whether it is actually delivering enough of the intervention to have a reasonable chance of producing effects. With a program for counseling victims of domestic violence, for example, an evaluation might consider the number of eligible victims who participate, attendance at the counseling sessions, and the quality of the counseling provided.

  4. Questions about program cost and efficiency, e.g., what the program costs are per unit of service, whether the program costs are reasonable in relation to the services provided or the magnitude of the intended benefits, and if alternative approaches would yield equivalent benefits at equal or lower cost. Cost and efficiency questions about the delivery of



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