Start the measurement planning process by focusing on what you most want to know. Define these areas of inquiry as learning questions. Create 3-5 priority questions that will:

  • Describe the information you need to collect, and guide how you will analyze and make meaning of this information.
  • Test the hypothesis in your Theory of Change. Use the data you collect to see if your program is being implemented as planned and if it is creating change in the ways you outlined in your Theory of Change.

  • To what extent are we reaching and retaining the intended target population? At what points do participants “fall off” of the program pipeline?
  • To what extent are participants receiving and engaging in the program model activities? To what extent are participants getting the prescribed “dosage” of involvement?
  • To what extent are program participants making progress toward outcomes and achieving the overall program outcome?
  • How does the experience in the program differ for sub-groups (by risk or demographic characteristics)?

  • Importance/Actionability: Prioritize questions by separating those that are interesting (nice to know) and those that are crucial (need to know).
  • Time and resources: Choose learning questions based in part on your reasonable ability to collect and analyze the needed data.
  • Reporting requirements: While you shouldn't be driven by external demands, do make sure that the data gathered for your learning questions also fulfills any reporting requirements.