The first step in conducting an evaluation for your marriage/relationship education program (MRE) is Planning, in which you lay the foundation for your evaluation.

The following key tasks are involved:

  • Hire an evaluator (you may or may not choose a third-party evaluator)
  • Develop or refine your program's logic model
  • Articulate evaluation questions reflecting what you, your staff, and key stakeholders want to know about your program
  • Meet with key program stakeholders to discuss their evaluation goals, questions of interest, and their thoughts on how the findings should be used

It is best to hire an evaluator before talking with program staff and stakeholders to get their input on evaluation questions to address. The evaluator can serve as an additional "pair of ears" for understanding the input that you receive and can also help you articulate concrete and testable evaluation questions. Including your evaluator in these discussions saves you the time of having to bring him or her up to speed on issues considered and decisions made, and gives you the benefit of the evaluator's experience and insights during these planning meetings.

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