EXERCISE14.1-Designing Evaluation Research

Find a description of a social program in a daily newspaper or use the following article about a hypothetical program.  (If you select a newspaper article, attach it to the exercise.)

“Pets Are Welcome Guests” Residents of the Pondview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center have a series of unusual guests once a week.  The VIPs (Volunteers Interested in Pondview) have organized a “Meet the Pets Day”at the local facility. Each week, one or more volunteers bring a friendly pet for short one-to-one visits with residents.  On a typical day, a dozen or so owners will bring dogs, cats, and bunnies to Pondview, but sometimes companions include hamsters and gerbils.  Last week, Buffy, a spirited golden retriever with a wildly wagging tail, made her debut at Pondview.  In a 15-minute visit with Mrs. Rita Williams, an 85-year-old widow recovering from a broken hip, Buffy managed to bestow at least several “kisses” on the woman’s face and hands.  Mrs. Williams said she has seen more sedate pets, but wasn’t at all displeased with today’s visit.  Margaret Collins, facility administrator, said that the program had been adapted from one she had read about in a nearby city.  She was glad that the VIP s had organized the new program.  “It gives the residents something to look forward to,” she said.  “I think it makes them more alert and attentive.  If it really does aid the residents’ recoveries and results in their improved mental health, we’ll expand it to several days a week next year.” Design a research project to evaluate either “Meet the Pets Day” or your local news paper by answering the questions that follow.

  1. What is an appropriate research question that your evaluation should seek to answer or a hypothesis that you would test?

  2. Describe the social program that is being offered.

  3. Who are the program’s participants?

  4. In addition to the program’s participants, who are the other stakeholders?

  5. What is the goal or intended outcome of the program?

  6. Describe how you would decide if the program was successful in meeting its goal by designing an outcome evaluation study.  Be sure to describe the study design you would use, whom your sample would include, and how you would measure the dependent variable.

  7. Comment on the internal validity of the study you designed.

  8. What are the ethical considerations you would need to consider if you were interested in doing this study?

  9. What are the practical issues (time,money,and access) that you would need to consider if you were interested in doing this study?

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