It is suggested that the program enlist the aid of an evaluation stakeholder workgroup (ESW) of 8-10 members that represents the stakeholders who have the greatest stake or vested interest in the quitline evaluation (Centers for Disease Control, 2008). These stakeholders or primary intended users will serve in a consultative role on all phases of the evaluation. To begin the process of selecting those members who will best represent your primary intended users, it is suggested that you compile a list of all possible users with corresponding comments about their investment in the quitline evaluation and potential uses for evaluation results.
Now, go back over your list of potential users of the quitline evaluation results and consider their level of priority on the list. For example, providing the information that funders or decision makers need may take a higher priority than other users, even though all users are still very important. You might rate stakeholders in terms of high, medium, or low, or you might rank order them from 1 to n.
1.2 Evaluation Purpose Exercise
Identifying the end users and the evaluation stakeholder workgroup is as important as identifying the purpose of the quitline evaluation. These two aspects of the evaluation serve as a foundation for evaluation planning, focus, design, interpretation, and use of results. The purpose of an evaluation influences the identification of stakeholders for the evaluation, selection of specific evaluation questions, and the timing of quitline evaluation activities. It is critical that the quitline be transparent about intended purposes of the evaluation. If evaluation results will be used to determine whether a quitline component should be added, continued, or eliminated, then stakeholders should know this up front.
To determine the evaluation purpose, the evaluation team should work with those who are requesting the evaluation to identify the possible multiple purposes for the evaluation from multiple sources. The first task is to consider what groups are interested in an evaluation of the quitline. This might include the quitline service provider staff, health department staff, funders, state-level decision makers, and other stakeholders. The second task would be to align the specific group with what they are requesting to be evaluated. The third task would be to ascertain what the potential uses of the evaluation results will be by each group interested in the evaluation. And fourth, the team should develop a purpose statement relevant to each group and evaluation requested.
Next, the team should consider each purpose statement for duplication and overlap. What statements could be combined? The final step in the process is to merge the statements into one overall purpose statement.