Thursday, December 3, 2009

Truncated Pre-test and Post-test with Comparison Group, Design # 4

How do you evaluate a project if no baseline was conducted and the project is being implemented? One possible approach, if a project has an adequate budget and has a reasonable amount of time left before it is completed, is the use of a truncated pre-test and post-test with a comparison group.

The truncated, or shortened, quasi-experimental project evaluation design uses a mid-term study as a proxy measure for the baseline even while recognizing that the project has been underway for some time. Again, as in all the other more rigorous designs, a comparison group is studied so as to estimate the net impact of the program interventions; however, with no baseline this design is weaker than the previous ones.

The post-test or final study, is conducted at the end of the project. One advantage of this design is that smaller sample sizes can be used since the time frame is shorter which reduces the possibility of respondent loss (attrition). One of the drawbacks of this design is that without having a baseline measure it is not possible to know the total amount of change over the life of the project, rather inferences have to be made based on contextual analysis and incorporating mixed methods approaches.

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