The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Approach to Evaluation

Chapter 5


In this chapter, reprinted from Volume XI of the Anthology, James Knickman, the Foundation’s vice president for research and evaluation at the time, and Kelly Hunt, then a Foundation research and evaluation officer, describe four tiers of evaluation—measuring the impact of specific programs; tracking the impact of a portfolio of programs; assessing organizational effectiveness; and informing the public with Program Results Reports and the Anthology.

Since the publication of the chapter, the Foundation’s approach has evolved, and it has added to the tiers of evaluation two new methods to measure the results of its work. The first has to do with methodology. The Foundation is now using the ‘‘systematic screening and assessment method’’ to identify innovations that are worth evaluating and are likely to have impact. The second method is an in-depth analysis of a portfolio of related programs that have been completed. This is called the retrospectives series.