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PSY 4511 Principles of Program Development and Evaluation

Course Description

The psychological principles, methods and techniques used to assess, develop and evaluate the effectiveness of programs. Includes needs assessment methods, principles of program design, gaining support for programs and general methods for evaluating programs.

Course Objectives

After completing this course, students will be able to

  • Describe the interdependent nature of program development and outcome evaluation
  • Explain the multidisciplinary nature of proper program development and evaluation and the necessity of good rapport and cooperation between practitioners/researchers and administrators/evaluators
  • Describe the grant/funding process in respect to applying for  research and applied program funding
  • Explore the dynamic and practical aspects of conducting needs assessments
  • Construct a program and evaluation plan
  • Locate and understand the various sources of data
  • Identify and assess measurement tools
  • Explain the various types of reliability, validity, and their application to program evaluation
  • Discuss the importance and pitfalls in ethical issues in program delivery and evaluation
  • Explain the need and use of Institutional Review Boards
  • Examine best practices and what works, what doesn’t, and what is promising
  • Review common practical issues related to program development and evaluation

Week 1

Lecture: Program Planning and Evaluation: Practical Considerations and Implications – Part 1
Lecture: Program Planning and Evaluation: Practical Considerations and Implications – Part 2


  • Explain the basics of a program plan
  • Explain the basics of an evaluation plan
  • Discuss the importance and interdependency of program and evaluation plans
  • Discuss the politics, pragmatic issues, realities, and perceptions of program development and evaluation

Week 2

Lecture: Planning, Evaluating, and Grant Writing Outcomes
  • Discuss the difference between research, applied, contract programs, and funding
  • Explain the basic approaches to needs assessments
  • Explain the various types of needs, needs assessment, and approaches to measuring them

Week 3

Lecture: Nuts and Bolts of Program and Evaluation Plans


  • List and explain the steps to a funding proposal
  • Discuss the steps and need for an evaluation plan
  • Recognize the difference between a process and outcome evaluation
  • Discuss the value of the empowerment evaluation model

Week 4

Lecture: Data Collection


  • Discuss the various types of reliability and how they are important to data
  • Discuss the various types of validity and how they are important to data
  • Explain the basic processes and methods of data collection
  • Explain why proper instrument selection is critical
  • Locate good instruments for data collection
  • Explain basic approaches to collecting data

Week 5

Lecture: Now What: Dealing with Problems and Analysis and Reporting


  • Explain when and where to seek analysis support
  • Discuss the various levels of analysis when they are appropriately used
  • Recognize the difference between qualitative and quantitative analysis

Week 6

Lecture: Providing Services and Ethics


  • Discuss the historical background and need for Institutional Review Boards (IRB)
  • Explain the ethical guidelines for research
  • Discuss the common ethical issues that service providers encounter
  • Discuss the ethical guidelines for researchers

Week 7

Lecture: What Works, What Does not, and What is Promising


  • List where to find and critique programs
  • Describe how programs are assessed
  • Recognize that evaluations may or may not capture the reality of programs that help clients
  • Discuss the work of Dr. Sherman and his team in evaluating crime prevention programs

Week 8

Lecture: Conclusion


  • Discuss the common issues that arise in new programs and techniques and practices to address them
  • Recognize the common problem of practitioners getting so focused on delivery they neglect evaluation or administrative requirements
  • Explain the basic concepts in diversity, social justice, and at-risk populations
  • Recognize that evaluations are a tool but can be considered a threat by funding providers
  • Explain how politics are often part of a competitive funding process

The course description, objectives and learning outcomes are subject to change without notice based on enhancements made to the course. November 2013