Exploring target population data

First, explore the extent to which you reached the target population.

Questions to ask yourself when exploring target population data

  • Do the participants in the dataset reflect the population of youth our program intended to serve (our target population) in terms of all criteria (including demographics, risk factors, readiness factors, and other baseline conditions)?
  • What groups (if any) are over- or under-represented (compared to who we said we would serve)?
  • Might we need to adjust our interpretation of the results based on who we have, or who we do not have, data for? (For example, do we only have data for a special subset of participants?)
  • Are there any key demographic characteristics, risk factors, readiness factors, or other baseline conditions that we may have overlooked when developing our data collection tools?

Exploring program participation data

Look at program participation data – such as attendance logs, case management notes, or tracking sheets – to understand the extent to which participants are engaging in your program (i.e., dosage) and if the program was implemented as planned.

You can examine the frequencies (number and percentage) of participation for individual youth as well as the mean (average) attendance for groups of participants.

Questions to ask yourself when exploring program participation data
  • What percentage of participants receive the level of services that we intended to provide, as laid out in the Theory of Change?
  • Was the program implemented according to our model and plan?
  • Are there any key aspects of program participation that we have not defined specifically enough to understand what appears to be driving results?