One of the contributing factors to the development of program evaluation as a profession has been an interest in learning whether the efforts of social interventions, programs, and other types of innovations had the impact purported by designers. In other words, funding agencies, politicians, and citizens want to know whether program efforts make a difference. What were the results of the investments of time and money? Did the programs accomplish what planners proposed? Were the results achieved intended? What kind of a difference did the program or intervention make and why does it matter? All of these are common questions about outcomes.

Outcomes are often expressed as short-, medium-, and long-term outcomes. Long-term outcomes are sometimes referred to as impact. The time frame associated with what ...

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